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Trader Joe's sued for allegedly copying famous cookies

Cookie maker Pepperidge Farm is suing California-based grocery store chain Trader Joe's for trademark violations. According to Pepperidge Farm, Trader Joe's has been selling a product called Crispy Cookies that is too similar to its famous Milano cookies. Pepperidge Farm says that Trader Joe's actions are malicious and calculated and that the company has made hundreds of millions of dollars by trading on the reputation of Milano cookies.

Pepperidge Farm has been making Milano cookies since 1956, and Trader Joe's began making Crispy Cookies a decade ago. Although Milano cookies are oval shaped and Crispy Cookies are rectangular, Pepperidge Farm claims that the rounded edges on Crispy Cookies mimic the oval shape of Milano cookies. In its trademark infringement lawsuit, Pepperidge Farm also notes that Trader Joe's uses packaging for Crispy Cookies that is similar to the packaging used for Milano cookies.

Pepperidge Farm filed its complaint on Dec. 2, asking a judge to bar Trader Joe's from selling any more Crispy Cookies. The lawsuit is also seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the losses that it says Trader Joe's has caused Pepperidge Farm. Pepperidge Farm has not released any public comments about the pending litigation.

A company's trademarks can be very valuable when they are highly recognizable by customers. While shopping, customers could become confused by a product that has packaging that is mimicking another company's trademarked designs. A lawyer may be able to help a company to file a trademark violation lawsuit against a company that has copied its recognizable product features and packaging design.

Source: HNGN, "Trader Joe's 'Milano Cookie' Prompts Lawsuit From Pepperidge Farm Citing Trademark Violations," Jelani James, Dec. 5, 2015

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