Bitter fight over sweet treats

| Jun 14, 2021 | Trademark enforcement |

Few things conjure up sweet memories of childhood better than an Oreo cookie. Chomping down on the two dark wafers and sweet in-between crème filling elicits contented sighs around the world.

Not everyone is content on the subject of Oreos, however. A division of the U.S. firm that makes Oreos has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a firm in India over cookie design.

In the U.S., the treats are made by the Nabisco division of Mondelez International, Inc., while in India, the cookies (called “biscuits”) are made by Intercontinental Great Brands LLC, another Mondelez unit.

Infringement allegations in India

Intercontinental Great Brands has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Parle Products, an Indian company that makes Fabio cookies. Intercontinental alleges that the Fabio design is “deceptively similar” to the familiar look of Oreos.

Mondelez introduced Oreos in India about a decade ago, rolling out several variants since then, including Oreos with orange, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate crème fillings.

Parle launched its Fabio cookie brand in January of last year.

More allegations

A recent news report said India has an intensely competitive cookie market that has several similar trademark infringement lawsuits.

Last year, Britannia Industries alleged trademark infringement against Future Consumer. Britannia claimed Future Consumer’s cookie packages were confusingly similar to its packaging.

Britannia also alleged trademark infringement by ITC Ltd., again related to product packaging.

Trade dress

Similar cases in the U.S. involve trade dress, a term referring to elements used to promote products.

Trade dress includes packaging, labels and displays, as well as a product’s size, shape, color and more.

Trade dress can be registered with the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) and trade dress rights can be protected in federal courts with the help of an experienced IP attorney.