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Pepperidge Farm sues Trader Joe's in cookie lawsuit

Many people know about "Milano" cookies, a type of cookie made by Pepperidge Farm. The cookie has been made by 1956, and the packaging for the cookie (and Pepperidge Farm products in general) has not changed significantly since then either. Milanos are two rounded wafer cookies with chocolate filling between them. They are iconic (as iconic as foods can be, that is) and have been featured prominently in many television shows.

Now, this may all sound like a bit too much explanation for a blog post about intellectual property and the lawsuits that can spawn from them. But the details are important in these cases. And Pepperidge Farm filed a lawsuit against Trader Joe's because they allege that Trader Joe's packaged and sold a cookie, called "Crispy Cookies," that are too similar to Milanos.

Pepperidge Farm argued that "Crispy Cookies" -- which are two rectangular (but rounded off) wafer cookies with chocolate in the middle -- were meant to confuse and deceive consumers, and that the Trader Joe's product infringed on their intellectual property.

However, Pepperidge Farm recently dropped the lawsuit as they and Trader Joe's reached a settlement over the cookie dispute.

It may seem a little silly arguing over a round wafer cookie and a "rectangular but rounded" wafer cookie, and how this distinction (among others) constitutes an infringement on a company's IP. But it is these little details about essential products to a company's brand that are so vital to protect. They can be the difference between a company surviving and thriving, or struggling to exist.

Source: Connecticut Law Tribune, "Conn. Cookie Maker Settles Intellectual Property Lawsuit," Megan Spicer, March 31, 2016

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