Halo Top, Mars Inc. Fight Trademark Suits

Meagan McGinnes

Food fights are breaking out in court. HaloTop, Mars Inc, KerryGold and Chobani all found themselves in legal battles spanning trademark infringements to reports of assault over the past month.

Here’s what we know so far about the cases, why they were filed, and what they could mean for the companies involved.

New Jersey Farm Sues Halo Top For Trademark Infringement

Halo Top may be a frozen favorite, but it looks like one New Jersey creamery is less than sweet on the brand.

Lawrence-based Halo Farm filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the better-for-you ice cream maker, California-based Eden Creamery, saying its “confusingly similar” brand name is hurting its sales, according to The Times of Trenton.

The lawsuit alleges Halo Top’s name may lead customers to believe the farm’s products are healthy or that Halo Top’s products are diet-friendly options created by the farm. Halo Top touts itself is a lighter, protein packed pint.The brand saw fast success in 2016 sales, which jumped about 2,500 percent from the year before, according to Adweek.

Though Halo Top has been sold across the country for over a year, it only recently made its way to the Trenton area, The Times reports. Halo Farm, which opened in 1975, only sells its portfolio of ice creams and juices within the state. Reilly’s suit demands that Halo Top stops using its name, recalls and destroys all existing products and pay the farm damages.

Wisconsin Woman on Mars Inc. Lawsuit: It’s ‘Trademark Bullying’

What’s the difference between Mars Inc.’s cocoa extract supplements and a Wisconsin woman’s confectionary line? Only two letters–and that’s confusing, according to the national chocolate maker.

Entrepreneur Syovata Edari is selling a line of chocolates branded as CocoVaa. Mars, however, is arguing that the name is “confusingly similar” to its own cocoa extract supplements called CocoaVia, as reported by The Wisconsin Law Journal.

The McLean, Virginia-based company filed a federal lawsuit on March 24, stating the similarity of the brands’ names hurts Mars’ reputation, according to the Journal. Mars is seeking damages and all of Edari’s profits. Edari is contesting the lawsuit, calling it “trademark bullying” and noting that the products are distinctly different. The case will be heard in Virginia’s Eastern District Court.

Wisconsin’s State-Approved Butter Mandate is Sending Kerrygold and Others To Court

Wisconsin consumers looking to smother their toast in Kerrygold Irish butter are being forced to opt for a local brand instead. The “ungraded butter” — one that doesn’t carry the familiar USDA or Wisconsin-state stamp of approval — is banned from “America’s Dairyland.” The statute dates back to 1953, but it wasn’t until this January that it was enforced by the state.

Retailers told The Daily Beast that the demand for Kerrygold butter is high, and, according to a federal lawsuit filed this month by Kerrygold’s parent company Ornua, Weyauwega’s affiliate Old World Creamery is taking advantage of this shortage.

The lawsuit claims Kerrygold shipped 40,000 pounds of its butter to Old World in an attempt to partner with the Wisconsin brand and become certified by the state. The Wisconsin creamery instead allegedly partnered with a different irish producer, and is using Kerrygold’s packaging to trick customers, The Daily Beast reported.

Last week, a judge issued a temporary restraining order against Old World Creamery to stop the selling of the product until the case can be tried.

Kerrygold isn’t the only butter brand heading to court because of the standard. Ohio-based cheese and butter producer Minerva Dairy filed a suit in federal court claiming the state’s law is “arbitrary, costly, anti-competitive and unconstitutional,” according to Law360.

Chobani Sues Alex Jones for ‘Defamatory’ Sexual Assault Allegations

Alex Jones has gone from Pizzagate to Yogurtgate. Chobani filed a lawsuit against the high-profile conspiracy theorist and popular right-wing radio show host for posting what the yogurt company is calling false news reports about the company’s Idaho factory, The New York Times reported last week.

Jones published a story on the site InfoWars, that alleged Chobani’s factory, which employs refugees, was connected to a 2016 child sexual assault and a rise in tuberculosis cases. The filing states Jones and his companies refused to take down the reports or publish a correction despite multiple written demands, according to the Times.

Jones is fighting the lawsuit, seeking both financial and commercial support from his fans.

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