Trix Cereal, Pringles caught up in trademark lawsuits

Trix.jpg
tim eschaton/Flickr

Trademark lawsuits are some of the most bizarre. I saw one in the last year or so that involved one company suing another for the particular shade of blue it was using for one of its products as being "confusingly similar" to the blue it used on its own. Another involved one trial lawyer association suing another (lawyers suing lawyers -- ha!) for having a name that was something like "unlawfully similar" to its own.

The weirdness most definitely extends to food-related topics. Just last week, the locally-owned Buffalo Wild Wings sued Procter & Gamble, the company that makes Pringles, for using the word "Blazin'" to advertise its Pringles "Extreme" chips. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court claims, "Procter & Gamble chose words and themes such that the only conclusion to be drawn is that Procter & Gamble intended to use the success of and goodwill attributable to Buffalo Wild Wings ... in order to mislead consumers ..."

Kinda crazy, right? Well Minneapolis' General Mills, which manufactures the fake fruity Trix Cereal, is hot on the heels of a Turkish company that is allegedlly using the name "Trix" for some of its own food products as well as the Illinois company that is importing them into the United States. "[The companies], the suit says, "undertook these actions with the intent of confusing consumers, so that they could trade on and receive the benefit of the goodwill built up by General Mills at great labor and expense over many years."

Also, in case you were wondering, according to the suit, General Mills spends an average of $12 million advertising Trix products each year. Each. year.

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