trademark wars

Culinary Creators Face Trademark Woes When it Comes to Foreign Foods

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 9, 2013 12:43 PM

A trademark case out of London hits close to home for one of the culinary world's hottest trends: pho. But it raises a much larger issue as trends cross cultural divides and enterprising types look to cordon what they believe is a unique market. 

Recently, a small Vietnamese restaurant in London called Mo Pho was asked to change its name due to the fact that Pho Cafe, a British chain of Vietnamese restaurants had trademarked the term "pho" several years earlier. Except in Vietnamese, pho is a simple term for "noodle soup," kind of the English equivalent of "cheeseburger." What the case suggests is that any general food term is protectable by trademark—provided it's in a foreign language.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Cracker Barrel Settles for Abbreviated Brand Name in Battle with Kraft

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 7, 2013 02:51 PM

Kraft and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. have been battling in court for months over the use of the Cracker Barrel name, which Kraft has been using for nearly 60 years for one of its cheese brands. But a tug of war started when the restaurant chain sought to sell a line of branded products to various retail outlets.  

After a months-long legal battle, Cracker Barrel’s first products will be shipped to retailers this week—but without the Cracker Barrel name. Instead, it will be sold under the name "CB Old Country Store," according to the Tennessean. And from the looks of it, Cracker Barrel isn’t going to be shipping out any cheese products, instead focusing on “maple and smoked bacon, spiral ham and four types of lunch meat: oven roasted turkey, smoked turkey, smoked ham and honey ham.”Continue reading...

trademark wars

Cadbury and the Color Purple: Nearly a Century of Use Couldn't Trademark It

Posted by Dale Buss on October 4, 2013 07:23 PM

It isn't any easier to trademark the color purple than the color red, apparently. Several months after Louboutin's failed effort to trademark the color red broadly for shoe soles in the US, Cadbury has been knocked down by a UK court over its attempts to trademark the use of purple in its chocolate wrappers.

Cadbury lost its five-year court battle to Nestle over whether Cadbury could register a distinctive shade of purple as a trademark, a specific shade—defined as Pantone 2685C—that it has used on its Dairy Milk bars and other sweets since World War I.

"The mark ... lacks the required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration," one of the judges in the case said, according to The Guardian.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Kraft Proves Bigger Cheese in Courtroom as Judge Bars Cracker Barrel Line

Posted by Dale Buss on July 2, 2013 01:48 PM

A judge dealt a severe blow to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store's bid to expand its brand presence outside the retail operations attached to its 600-plus restaurants. He sided with Kraft Foods in issuing a temporary injunction against the Tennessee-based restaurant chain's selling of branded packaged hams and other meats under its marque because it's too similar to Kraft's long-existent Cracker Barrel cheese brand.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman gave Kraft the victory saying that the restaurant chain's plans to sell Cracker Barrel Old Country Store branded, packaged meats through supermarkets, club stores and other retailers would infringe on Kraft's Cracker Barrel brand by confusing consumers. The Chicago-based hometown judge indicated that Kraft "is likely to prevail" in its long-term bid against the restaurant chain's brand-expansion effort as well.

"The court finds that Kraft is likely to prevail on the merits of its trademark infringement and unfair competition claims," the judge's order said. "Kraft need only show a 'better than negligible' chance of success on the merits, and has more than sufficiently carried this burden."Continue reading...

trademark wars

Wendy’s Gets Frosty Over Trademark Suit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 24, 2013 11:41 AM

Since the start of the burger franchise in 1969, Wendy's has been serving up its signature Frosty frozen dairy dessert. While milkshake-type desserts can be found at nearly every burger joint around, Wendy's is set on protecting its swirled confection, filing a trademark infringement suit against fellow Ohio company United Dairy Farmers. 

Since 2005, UDF, which distributes homemade brand ice cream, has been doling out chocolate and vanilla shakes called “Frosties” and “Frosty Malts” in grocery stores and UDF convenience stores. Wendy’s is not happy about that or the fact that UDF is serving up the Frosties in similarly red-and-yellow colored cups, according to the Columbus Dispatch.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Illinois Church Takes Adidas Head On Over Adizero Trademark

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 12, 2013 12:47 PM

Goliath Adidas is starting to feel the little pings of David’s slingshot. The company is headed to court against an Illinois church, the Christian Faith Fellowship Church, over the trademark for its Adizero apparel and shoes.

The church trademarked “Add a Zero” back in November 2006, claiming on its website that it is “a Prophetic word spoken to our congregation in the early 2000s.” It was intended to help raise money for the church, its food pantry, and its childcare center, according to the Christian Post.

Adidas tried to trademark “AdiZero” in 2009, but was rejected due to the existence of the “Add a Zero” trademark. A lawyer for the church tells the Post that Adidas asked the US Patent and Trademark office to cancel the church’s trademark last year. The office finally said that it wouldn’t do that about two weeks ago. With that, Adidas offered the church 5,000 to buyout the trademark, which the church readily declined.Continue reading...

trademark wars

New York Goes After Coffee Shop Over Famed I ♥ NY Logo

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 30, 2013 02:37 PM

For years, New York has been feeling the love from its "I ♥ NY" marketing initiative. The logo has been slapped on just about everything, from t-shirts and hats to snowglobes and shot glasses. However, there's one place the famed logo isn't welcome, according to an NYC coffee shop that received a cease-and-desist letter from the state's Department of Economic Development. 

The department contacted Everyman Espresso and asked the coffee shop to stop using its logo that consists of  “I (illustration of a coffee cup) NY” tattooed on a closed fist, according to The New York Times

The fist belongs to co-owner Sam Penix, who had the tattoo done in 2009. Now the shop has taken all the signs, T-shirts, mugs and onesies that had the logo emblazoned on the front down into the basement and told the agency that it would stop using the logo.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Lamar Odom's Clothing Company Irks New York as Brewer Battle Rages On

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 22, 2013 03:53 PM

When you’re a 6-10 pro basketball player, you are used to getting things your way. But Los Angeles Clippers power forward Lamar Odom, husband to Khloe Kardashian, may not win the current battle he’s thrust himself into.

Odom and designer Jonathan Garcia launched a clothing line, Rich Soil, back in 2009 and one of its T-shirts caused so much of a stir that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually sent him a letter to tell him to stop selling it, the Associated Press reports. Cuomo expected Odom and his pal to stop sales within five days.

The problem? The shirt looks an awful lot like a logo for a New York State farming program. The Rich Soil shirt features a very similar Statue of Liberty that sits behind familiar-looking crop rows, encircled in a similar font reading "Rich Soil New York" as opposed to the program's "Pride of New York." Check out a side-by-side here.Continue reading...

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