Cracker Barrel loses to Kraft Foods in trademark lawsuit

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Cracker Barrel’s attempt to enter its products into grocery stores was stymied in a U.S. District Court recently when Judge Robert Gettleman sided with Kraft Foods’ accusation of brand confusion.

USA Today reports that Cracker Barrel recently signed a licensing agreement with John Morrel & Co. to market Cracker Barrel brand meats and goods in retail grocery stores.

In February, Kraft Foods sued Cracker Barrel, claiming that the new Cracker Barrel brand products would be confused with Kraft Foods’ line of Cracker Barrel trademarked cheeses.

Gettleman sided with Kraft Foods’ case, citing that Kraft’s Cracker Barrel cheese was on the market over a decade before the first Cracker Barrel store opened.

Further influential evidence included a study that Kraft Foods conducted on customers. In an online survey, customers were shown pictures of Cracker Barrel’s ham and then asked whether they thought its manufacturer also sold cheese. Kraft reported that 1 and 4 people answered yes. Cracker Barrel conducted a similar survey, but the confusion rate was only reported at 7 percent.

Gettleman continued supporting Kraft Foods, because he felt the Cracker Barrel survey suffered bias.

Cracker Barrel lost the case, but an appeal is likely. In the meantime, Judge Gettleman ordered Kraft to post a $5 million injunction bond by July 8.

Read more here.

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