Hormel says Dutch meat company stole SPAM label

Categories: Food Fight

spamflickr.jpg
Arnold Gatilao, Flickr.
And so begins the great SPAM war.
Hormel Foods Corp.--makers of everyone's favorite processed meat--is accusing a Netherlands-based food manufacturer of stealing the likeness of the SPAM label.

According to a lawsuit filed earlier this week, Zwanenberg Food Group has infringed on SPAM's trademark by selling a product in strikingly similar packaging. The product in question is called "Prem" and is described on Zwanenberg's website as a "luncheon loaf."

Delicious.

Hormel's lawyers first sent a cease-and-desist letter to Zwanenberg last October, according to documents included in the lawsuit. Hormel argued that the yellow-and-blue SPAM logo has become highly recognizable over the years, and is a valuable asset to the company.

Zwanenberg denied any significant similarities between the Prem and SPAM label but agreed to modify the design to "alleviate Hormel concerns."

But Hormel says Zwanenberg is now selling yet another product with an "imitation" SPAM label, which prompted the lawsuit.

So are they too similar? Decide for yourself.

Here's a picture of the Prem label, included in the lawsuit:

premjpg.jpg

And here's the SPAM label:

spam1.jpg

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Rachel Hutton
Rachel Hutton

Surprisingly, or, well, perhaps unsurprisingly, I actually have a (dusty) can of Prem right here in my kitchen cupboard--did I buy this to do a blind taste test vs. SPAM or something? In any case, I believe it's a "vintage" label, displaying the Prem name in a blockier blue font and a Premwich of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, cheese, and Prem between two slices of white toast.

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