NEW HAVEN, CONN. — Pepperidge Farm, Inc., a subsidiary of Campbell Soup Co., has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut against Trader Joe’s Co., accusing the Monrovia, Calif.-based grocery retailer of trademark infringement for selling a cookie that it claims looks too much like its Milano cookie.
“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,” Pepperidge noted in a Dec. 2 filing. “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 configurations.”
According to the lawsuit, Pepperidge has sold cookies under the Milano brand name since 1956. The main product sold under the brand is a cookie characterized by “a unique configuration comprised of a chocolate filling (sometimes with additional flavoring) that is sandwiched between two oval shaped cookies (the Milano configuration),” Pepperidge said. Pepperidge said it continuously has used the configuration since at least 1977 and registered for a trademark in 2010.
Pepperidge said it has sold “hundreds of millions of Milano cookies, resulting in revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars” over the past 10 years.
In its lawsuit, Pepperidge said Trader Joe’s cookies marketed and sold under the Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies name feature a configuration that “very closely” resembles that of its Milano cookies. The cookies contain chocolate filling sandwiched between two rounded rectangular cookies, “mimicking an overall oval shape,” according to Pepperidge. Additionally, on the packaging for its cookies, Trader Joe’s has an image of the cookies in a fluted paper tray, even though the cookies actually are sold in a plastic tray (Milano cookies are sold in a fluted paper tray).Trader Joe’s has not responded to the lawsuit.