Pepperidge Farm Sues Trader Joes over Milano Cookie Infringement

Dec 09, 2015 08:17 AM EST | By Juliano Dario

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Pepperidge Farm Inc. has launched a law suit against Trader Joe's, reports Reuters. The commercial bakery is accusing the grocery chain of infringing on the copyright of its popular Milano cookie, a wafer sandwich composed of two oval-shaped cookies with a chocolate filling.

Trader Joe's is currently selling a Milano-like cookie under the name crispy cookies filled with Belgian chocolate." 

The Lawsuit states:

"Despite being well aware of the famous MILANO® cookie configuration trademark, and the enormous goodwill symbolized thereby and associated therewith, Defendant recently began selling, in the packaged retail space, a cookie product designed to trade on the MILANO® cookie's goodwill and reputation. Defendant has furthered its deception by marketing its product using packaging associated with the MILANO® cookie. Trader Joe's use of Pepperidge Farm's registered configuration allows it to unfairly compete, infringes and dilutes Pepperidge Farm's trademarks, and blurs the distinctiveness of Pepperidge Farm's marks and configuration."

Vox's Timothy Lee says that Pepperidge Farm's claims are a bit of a longshot, citing the fact that trademark law places no restrictions on company's copying one another's food products.

"It simply requires that companies not mislead customers about what they're really buying. It's fine to make a chocolate sandwich cookie - you just can't package it in a way that makes customers think they're buying Oreos if they're not." Says Lee.

This fact is brought up in the lawsuit when Pepperidge accuses Trader Joe's cookies of mimicking Milanos' 'fluted paper' packaging.

"on the packaging for the Infringing Product, Trader Joe's places an image of the Infringing Product in a fluted paper tray, when the Infringing Product is not actually sold in a fluted paper tray, but rather in a plastic tray." Reads the document.

"The only reason Trader Joe's uses the image of the Infringing Product in a fluted paper tray on its packaging is to further associate the Infringing Product with the MILANO® cookies."

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