March 11, 2015
Tony ChachereTony Chachere's Creole Foods of Opelousas, Inc. is waiting for a judge's ruling on their lawsuit against Big Easy Foods of Louisiana, LLC (formerly French Market Foods) filed last week in United States District court for the West District of Louisiana (Docket #11-cv-1712). In the meantime, Tony Chachere's marketing professionals are working feverishly to clarify consumers' confusion.
"Big Easy Foods is trying to confuse the issue by presenting images of products to the media that are not in question in the lawsuit," explains Tony Chachere's President and CEO Don Chachere. "We have made it clear that their trademark infringement is limited to a specific set of products - the line of refrigerated and frozen items. To help clear up the confusion, we're sending comparison images of the products in question. Big Easy Foods would also have you believe that this lawsuit is about recipes and what's inside the package. To that end, I say: Read the lawsuit. The point of contention here is the packaging itself, which is nearly identical to our packaging - down to the UPC code. We have to safeguard our trademarks and image and nurture the trust we've built with our customers over the last 40 years."
"Big Easy hijacked our brand," says Chachere, "This is not about stopping competition or who's bigger or smaller. It's about identity theft. We want Big Easy Foods to do the right thing and create their own image."
New Orleans attorney Richard Leefe explains that Big Easy's use of nearly identical packaging constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition and is likely to cause confusion, including reverse confusion, deception and mistakes, in that it will lead consumers to believe, falsely, that their products are licensed, sponsored, franchised, approved or in some way connected with Tony Chachere's.
According to a number of consumers, the companies' packaging is causing confusion in grocery stores across the nation. "I accidentally bought Big Easy sausage because the packaging is exactly the same as Tony Chachere's," explains Dana Richard, a loyal Tony Chachere's customer. "I do believe Tony Chachere's has a claim because now I'm stuck with sausage that I don't want!"
Source: Tony Chachere's Creole Foods
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