Utz and Frito-Lay in cookie lawsuits
August 20, 2010
by Josh Sosland
HARRISBURG, PA. — Utz Quality Foods, Inc. and Frito-Lay North America, Inc. have filed lawsuits against one another over the use of the Grandma brand for cookies. In its Aug. 12 filing in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, Utz is seeking a court declaration that it may sell cookies under the Grandma Utz’s brand. Utz noted that it has sold potato chips under the Grandma Utz’s name since 1983 (Frito-Lay has been selling Grandma’s cookies since 1960; the brand is far older) and expanded the brand to include cookies in February 2010. “This was a natural expansion of (our) potato chips products,” Utz said. Utz described Frito-Lay’s Grandma’s trademark as “weak and entitled to a narrow scope of protection.” Utz said it filed suit after receiving a letter from Frito-Lay stating legal action would be taken if Utz did not make changes. In its countersuit, filed Aug. 16 in Sherman, Texas, Frito-Lay accused Utz of trademark infringement and unfair competition. In the filing, Plano, Texas-based Frito accused Utz of more than wrongly using the Grandma brand. Showing packages of the companies’ products side by side, Frito said Utz was “selling a line of cookies virtually identical of Frito-Lay’s line of Grandma’s cookies, using a mark and trade dress that imitate and are confusingly similar to the Grandma’s (line).” Frito is asking that Hanover, Pa.-based Utz be stopped from selling any cookies with trademark or dress that could be confused for Frito-Lay’s Grandma’s cookies.