Kraft files suit involving Chips Ahoy! packaging

by Eric Schroeder
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NORTHFIELD, ILL. — Kraft Foods Global Brands L.L.C. on April 13 filed a lawsuit against Houston-based Interamerican Foods Corp., a division of Mexico’s Grupo la Moderna S.A.B. de C.V., for alleged trademark infringement. The infringement involves chocolate chip cookie products that Interamerican is selling that Kraft claims have packaging similar to its Chips Ahoy! products.

“Interamerican has sold and is selling chocolate chip cookie products with packaging that is very similar to, and was clearly derived from, Kraft Foods’ package design,” Kraft noted in the lawsuit. “Interamerican’s unauthorized use of Kraft Foods’ trade dress on the packaging of its chocolate chip cookie products is likely causing confusion, mistake, and deception among consumers, and diluting the distinctive nature of Kraft Foods’ trade dress.”

According to Kraft Foods, the similarities between the Chips Ahoy! packaging and that of Interamerican’s products include:

• virtually the same blue color, with background light blue swirls and a yellow swirl in the lower left corner that outlines a light blue triangular area;
• the product name on the Interamerican package is in similar dark blue lettering, with lighter blue highlights on a white background with red shadowing, and with the lettering rising from left to right;
• both designs use a chocolate chip shape as the dot over the letter “i” in the product name;
• on the Interamerican package, a background light blue oval surrounds the product name and is cut off partly by the lettering of the product name; and
• the Interamerican package features a picture of a chocolate chip cookie, in similar position, orientation, and size as the cookie pictured on the front panel of the Chips Ahoy! package, with other chocolate chips sprinkled above and to the left of the cookie.

Kraft Foods said it contacted Interamerican and La Moderna prior to filing the suit and requested they stop selling the products. According to Kraft Foods, Moderna acknowledged it had wrongly used the Chips Ahoy! trade dress and said use of the packaging would be suspended. But the product has continued to be sold and La Moderna has stated it is not responsible for Interamerican’s actions.

Telephone and e-mail requests for comment from Interamerican were not returned.

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