King's Hawaiian sues Aldi over packaging similarities

by Eric Schroeder
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King's Hawaiian rolls compared to Aldi's Hawaiian rolls
King's Hawaiian says Aldi's sweet rolls are 'confusingly similar' to its King's Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.

GAINESVILLE, GA. — King’s Hawaiian Holding Company, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Aldi, Inc. alleging the latter of trade dress infringement. The Torrance, Calif.-based company is seeking injunctive relief and damages as part of a lawsuit filed Oct. 21 in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia Gainesville Division.

In its lawsuit, King’s Hawaiian has accused Aldi of selling sweet rolls “that intentionally and willfully employ product packaging that is confusingly similar to the distinctive packaging trade dress that King’s Hawaiian uses in connection with its King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.”

King’s Hawaiian said the conduct is likely to cause consumers to be confused, deceived or mistaken into believing that there is a connection between King’s Hawaiian and Aldi. The company also indicated there likely is to be a dilution in the strength of King’s Hawaiian’s packaging as a result of Aldi’s actions.

Founded in Hilo, Hawaii, in 1950, King’s Hawaiian is a family-owned and operated business that makes Hawaiian products, including the original Hawaiian sweet dinner roll. The company operates baking facilities in Torrance and Oakwood, Ga. The company noted in the lawsuit that it has gone to great effort to preserve its image and identity, going so far as to develop distinctive packaging for use with its King’s Hawaiian original sweet dinner rolls. The company said it has used the packaging since at least the early 1980s.

“The packaging for defendant’s sweet rolls is confusingly similar in overall look and feel to the King’s Hawaiian Sweet Roll packaging trade dress and includes (1) the prominent use of the color orange; (2) on the front of the package a clear window, with the color orange as the primary element around such clear window; (3) within the window, a light-colored element with contrasting writing; and (4) on the light-colored element, no word appears in larger font than the word ‘Hawaiian,’ which is in a serif font,” King’s Hawaiian wrote in the lawsuit.

The company added it believes Aldi has adopted and used the packaging with the intent to “trade off on the enormous goodwill that King’s Hawaiian has earned in the King’s Hawaiian Sweet Roll packaging trade dress, and the high-quality products with which it is used and, further, to cause consumers to be confused, deceived or mistaken into believing that there is an affiliation, connection or association between defendant and King’s Hawaiian, or that defendant’s sweet rolls originate from or are sponsored by or approved by King’s Hawaiian. Defendant has damaged the reputation, business and goodwill of King’s Hawaiian, including within this District, and, unless enjoined, King’s Hawaiian is informed and believes that defendant will continue such conduct to the immediate and irreparable injury of King’s Hawaiian.”

Aldi, which bills itself “the nation’s low-price grocery leader,” operates more than 1,400 U.S. grocery stores in 32 states. Aldi declined to comment on the pending litigation.
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READER COMMENTS (1)

By Dhyaneshwar B. Chawan 10/30/2015 1:18:25 PM
It is the "Greed" and crooked plans of Marketing dept of the Companies to show increased sales to get bonuses. That is how they impress their employer to survive. Instead, why not create their own identity in Packaging and differentiated "Product". They don't as they lack Brain/creativity. I was a R&D Food Scientist and very actively defied Marketing and succeeded few times (also lost), but helped create New Trade Mark and product for my employer. WISH YOU SUCCEED YOUR CASE.