Kraft Foods awarded Cracker Barrel cheese trademark injunction
A preliminary injunction was issued at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois earlier this month after it was determined that there would be a “likelihood of confusion” between Kraft’s almost 60-year old Cracker Barrel range and CBOCS' licensed ham, bacon, lunch meats, and jerky products.
The order prohibits CBOCS from “manufacturing, advertising, distributing, shipping, promoting, offering for sale, selling or licensing third parties (specifically including intervenor John Morrell) to use the Cracker Barrel on food products in retail or wholesale trade other than through CBOCS’ traditional trade channels.”
The “complementary nature” of Kraft’s Cracker Barrel brand cheese and CBOCS’ Cracker Barrel brand meat products “may also contribute to confusion," said the court order.
“The court finds that Kraft is likely to prevail on the merits of its trademark infringement and unfair competition claims,” it added.
The injunction was issued on the condition that Kraft Foods posted an injunction bond in the sum of $5m “to protect defendants in the event they are found to have been wrongfully enjoined.”
CBOCS requested an improved injunction bond of $15m, but this was denied by the court.
It will remain in place while Kraft’s February 2013-filed trademark infringement lawsuit against CBOCS continues.
“Threaten to destroy” goodwill
CBOCS, which operates 620 restaurants and country stores across 42 US states, announced in November 2012 that it had entered into an “a multi-year licensing agreement” with John Morrell Food Group.
In response, Kraft filed a complaint in February 2013 seeking a judicial declaration that any use of the Cracker Barrel mark by CBOCS would constitute an infringement of its own registered Cracker Barrel trademark.
“Consumers who see Cracker Barrel brand cheese at their grocers know that the product comes from Kraft and know that the product is of the highest quality,” said the lawsuit.
“Defendants’ actions threaten to destroy the substantial goodwill that Kraft has created in its Cracker Barrel trademark and to create significant confusion and cannot be permitted,” it added.