Trader Joe’s in Hot Water Over Possible Trademark Infringement

(Image credit: Grub Street)

In a lawsuit that could set a bad precedent for the Trader Joe’s store brand, Pepperidge Farm has sued the private label chain for trademark infringement, claiming that the TJ’s crispy cookies are a knock off of the brand’s famous Milano cookies.

While this might not seem like such a big deal — Trader Joe’s could probably change the shape of their chocolate-filled sandwich cookie pretty easily — it could spell trouble down the line.

Because Trader Joe’s has established food companies making private-label goods for most everything in their store, almost all of their items have a brand name counterpart. For the companies that make the private-label Trader Joe’s products, trademark infringement isn’t likely to come up. But where Trader Joe’s uses a different manufacturer — say, for their crackers, granola bars, or breakfast cereals — they might run into trouble.

We’ll have to keep an eye on this case to see just how far it goes.