Candyland files lawsuit over trademarked Chicago Mix popcorn

Categories: News

chicagomix.jpg
Photo courtesy of Candyland
Candyland, St. Paul's 82-year-old candy and popcorn shop, has filed a lawsuit against three major companies over wrongful use of Candyland's "Chicago Mix" trademark. Owner Brenda Lamb created the mix in 1988 after taking a trip to a Chicago candy expo with Candyland co-owner Doug Lamb. Upon returning home, she combined Candlyand's caramel, cheese, and regular seasoned popcorn varieties and named it the Chicago Mix as a tribute to the Midwestern city. The name was trademarked in 1992.

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Since then, three major companies have adopted the name, ignoring Candyland's cease and desist letters. Among them are Garrett Popcorn Shops, Snyder's-Lance Inc., and Cornfields Inc., the producer of G.H. Cretors popcorn for Costco, Hy-Vee, and Whole Foods.

"Things started to unfold when the Internet became more popular. We had been sending cease and desist letters for the past decade. We've been really successful with smaller companies, but it's been a battle," says Candyland assistant Patricia Briseño-DeJoy. "When the companies are a little bit bigger than us, it's more of a challenge to protect our rights for the mark."

When other companies adopt the Chicago Mix name, it tarnishes the original's reputation and Candyland's dedication to quality, Briseño-DeJoy says.

"Our product is hand stirred fresh on the premises daily and we feel the Chicago Mix deserves that credibility as far as the product quality goes," she says.

However, the trademark violations have "not particularly" impacted sales, she added.

Candyland is not only asking the companies to stop using the name -- they're also asking them to pay financial damages.

"There has been some response and some talk about a settlement," Briseño-DeJoy says. "Based on some of the conversation we've had with these companies, I don't think there's going to be any leasing of the trademark. We stand really firm in our decision to pursue them and protect our rights for it."

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal conducted a poll asking how readers felt about the lawsuit. As of Monday afternoon, 79% of more than 460 readers believe Candyland should be the only company entitled to use the "Chicago Mix" moniker because "they trademarked it and spent the money marketing it."

Candyland will soon launch an awareness campaign called "®espect Chicago Mix®" that will provide information about the origins of the Chicago Mix, as well as samples and Candyland giveaways.

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18 comments
xkimberleyobrienx
xkimberleyobrienx

What a dumb lawsuit.  I swear I've seen other popcorn mixes called "Chicago Mix," too -- I am pretty sure that Trader Joe's makes one and I think other stores have it, too. Are they going to file stupid lawsuits against everyone?  Why not sue people who sell "chicago style pizza," too?  Dumb!

Greg Applekamp
Greg Applekamp

Yea wrong word shawn..the meaning of my post is still valid

Kyle J. Holman
Kyle J. Holman

I'm just worried that getting into legal battles with giant corporations could end up bankrupting them, and we end up losing the confectionary treasure that is candyland.

Shawn Taylor
Shawn Taylor

Patent and trademark are not the same thing btw.

Greg Applekamp
Greg Applekamp

It doesn't matter who was selling the style before. Candyland was the first to patent it.

Jason Schueppert
Jason Schueppert

Did you not read how the other place had been selling Chicago style years before the trademarkers?

David J. Chapa
David J. Chapa

Hey! There is only 1 Chicago Mix. Impostors beware.

taylor.cisco
taylor.cisco

Very clever, unethical, but clever. A modern spin on the classic Thomas Edison move. Garrett's makes a product in 1949, Candyland samples the product in 1988 then trademarks the name in 1992, and then tries to prevent the originators of the product(or in this case, recipe) from future use of the name on the product. The ideal ruling would allow Candyland exclusive rights to the name, so long as they (blatantly and conspicuously) include the phrase: "Based on the Original Garrett's Popcorn Recipe" on the packaging.

josh584
josh584

Sorry but Garrett's is Chicago Mix.... It's not carmel, cheese and regular popcorn... It's just carmel and cheese..

Mary Chittenden
Mary Chittenden

I love that shit. I didn't know it belonged to Candyland. Trader Joe's has started selling it. I love me some TJ's but I think Candyland should sue them too.

spooky_helder
spooky_helder

I'm going to start selling a snack called Chicago-styled Mix instead. It'll consist of caramel corn and rabbit pellets. Chicago!!

Joel O'Brien
Joel O'Brien

That shit is nasty. I went to a play at New Century and the ticket stub was a coupon for a free bag. I ate two bites and donated the rest to my dumpster to be eaten by flea ridden dumpster divers.

Michele Lynn
Michele Lynn

It may be Candyland's trademark, but nothing beats Garrett's...

Crystal Windchittl
Crystal Windchittl

Are they going to sue the makers of the Candy Land board game too?

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