Trader Joe’s is facing trademark infringement charges from Pepperidge Farm for selling a cookie believed to closely resemble the renowned Milano cookie product.
In its Dec. 2 complaint filed to the federal court, Pepperidge Farm said Trader Joe’s is confusing its market and damaging its goodwill through selling Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies.
According to the company and bakery unit of Campbell Soup Co, the cookies of Trader Joe’s had a more rectangular shape but maintained rounded edges that mimicked a generally oval shape. It also cited the use of similar packaging.
"The acts of Trader Joe's have been malicious and calculated to injure Pepperidge Farm," read the complaint, with Pepperidge Farm seeking to stop the sales of the cookie and compensation for damages.
The complaint also pointed out that the other party “willfully sought to trade on Pepperidge Farm’s reputation and [that] of the Milano cookies,” and that they first notified them of likely trademark infringement back in August.
The Milano cookie, which consists of chocolate filling and sometimes other flavors, was introduced in 1956 and trademarked in 2010. In the last decade alone, it is said to have earned the bakery millions of dollars in sales.
Founded in 1937, Pepperidge Farm is named after a real farm located in Fairfield in Connecticut. It was sold to Campbell Soup in 1961 by founder Margaret Rudkin after years of successful operation.
Today, its product lineup comprises Goldfish crackers, Nantucket cookies, and a range of bread products, and it also distributes another Campbell subsidiary’s product known as Tim Tams.
Trader Joe’s boasts of 457 stores around the U.S., most of which are based in its home state California. Starting as a small convenience store chain in 1958, it expanded to specialize in hard-to-find items, many of which are marketed as organic, vegetarian, or gourmet.
The grocery chain declined to comment on the matter pending litigation.
Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr