Trader Joe’s is being sued by Pepperidge Farm for allegedly copying its Milano cookies. The grocery store’s cookies looks quite similar to Milano, claims the lawsuit.
Pepperidge Farm Inc. has sued Trader Joe’s Co., accusing the latter of trademark infringement for selling a cookie that looks remarkably similar to its popular Milano cookie. Trader Joe’s cookies, labeled as Crispy Cookies, don’t just look similar to Milano cookies, but come in similar packaging, say the claim. In a complaint filed on Wednesday in the New Haven, Connecticut federal court, Pepperidge Farm said Trader Joe’s is damaging its goodwill and confusing shoppers through its sale of Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies, reported Reuters.
Pepperidge Farm claims Crispy Cookies are a rip-off of its iconic Milano cookie. The company has been making Milano cookies since 1956. They are essentially two cookies with chocolate filling – or sometimes other flavors like cookie butter or chocolate chilli – sandwiched in between. The cookies are oval in shape and have always been quite popular with consumers, keeping sales healthy.
Though the company has been making Milano cookies for almost 60 years, Pepperidge Farm registered the trademark only in 2010. Pepperidge Farm is a bakery unit of Campbell Soup Co. The company agrees that Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies are more rectangular in shape, but they have well-rounded corners which “mimic an overall oval shape.” Additionally, Trader Joe’s packaging looks quite similar to the ones that Milano cookies are packed in, which can create confusion in the minds of shoppers, noted the lawsuit,
“Trader Joe’s has willfully sought to trade on Pepperidge Farm’s reputation and the reputation of the Milano cookies. The acts of Trader Joe’s have been malicious and calculated to injure Pepperidge Farm, whose Milano has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue in the last decade.”
While Alison Mochizuki, a Trader Joe’s spokeswoman denied to speak about any pending litigation, a spokeswoman for Pepperidge Farm said, “The trust Pepperidge Farm has built with consumers is of utmost importance to us.”
Pepperidge Farm has accused Trader Joe’s of “deceptive marketing and diluting the value of Milano with Crispy Cookies”. The company is seeking to stop sales of the rival cookie, as well as compensatory and unspecified punitive damages, reported Consumerist. The complaint adds that Pepperidge Farm did intimate Trader Joe’s about the cookies in August. However, it appears the company chose to ignore the same and will now have to fight Pepperidge Farm in the court.
Pepperidge Farms claims that there is substantial evidence which shows consumers are routinely confused between the two products. The company even put forth the fact that there are 125,000 Google hits likening the Crispy Cookies to the Milano cookies, as proof that Trader Joe’s version has been intentionally based on Milano cookies, reported Pirated Thoughts.
Trader Joe’s claims its Crispy Cookies are filled with Belgian chocolate. They are packed in tall rectangular paper packing and sold at $2.79 for 7.5 ounce (213 gm.)
Trader Joe’s, a specialty grocery store chain operates in Monrovia, California in Greater Los Angeles area. It has been offering organic and fresh food groceries in the United States since 1958. The chain already offers a vast lineup of cookies.
It appears Trader Joe’s began selling Crispy Cookies in March of this year. According to Calorie Count, the Crispy Cookies have 160 calories. In comparison the Milano cookies have about 130 calories per serving. Interestingly, it is unlikely Pepperidge Farm is concerned about the nutritional values or calorie count within Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies. The company however, is unhappy about the outward appearance of the packaging and the way the cookies are shaped, which might confuse shoppers and affect the sale of Milano cookies.
[Photo via Trader Joe’s]