December 7, 2015 Leave a comment
Pepperidge Farm has filed a lawsuit against Trader Joe’s, arguing that the retailer has infringed on the trademarked Milano cookies, a popular line of oval cookies. Trader Joe’s is accused of deceptive marketing that confused shoppers and capitalized on their familiarity with the Pepperidge Farm cookies.
“Trader Joe’s has willfully sought to trade on Pepperidge Farm’s reputation and the reputation of the Milano cookies,” Pepperidge Farm wrote in a complaint filed Wednesday with the federal district court of Connecticut. The company asks that Trader Joe’s not be allowed to sell the cookies anymore and Pepperidge Farm will seek damages for potential trademark infringement.
The Milano cookies were launched in 1956 and trademarked in 2010. Pepperidge Farm claims that Trader Joe’s version of the cookie was more rectangular in shape but that it maintained the rounded edges which affected an overall oval shape; they say also that Trader Joe’s packaging too closely mimics their own.
“The acts of Trader Joe’s have been malicious and calculated to injure Pepperidge Farm,” the company said. “The trust Pepperidge Farm has built with consumers is of utmost importance to us.”
Pepperidge Farm offers many varieties and flavors of signature cookies. Slate contributor Leon Neyfakh decided to embark on tasting each and every one, and in so doing learned the history of Pepperidge Farm from then-outgoing president Pat Callaghan. The company was founded by a New England woman named Margaret Rudkin, who started with one special loaf of bread her diet-sensitive young son could eat.
Rudkin, finding that the expansions she was making to her company were falling fast and flat, decided to take a “tasting trip” through Europe. She found inspiration at a cookie plant in Brussels. Rudkin then wanted to make cookies that were “delicate in flavor and texture” that a host could serve with tea, ice cream, or fruit on the best dinnerware.
The original lineup of Pepperidge Farm’s cookies came in six attitudes: Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brussels, Venice, Dresen, and a brownie sandwich called the Capri. Now, many years later, the company offers consumers seven kinds of Milano cookies, three Milano Melts, and a host of other branded treats.