Orange County – Austin-based Hormel Foods Corporation filed a trade dress infringement complaint in U.S. District Court in Minnesota against Zwanenberg Food Group. Zwanenberg has allegedly continued to use packaging that is “confusingly similar” to the “Spam” packaging used by Hormel.
In October 2010, Hormel sent Zwanenberg a cease and desist letter. Zwanenberg responded by saying that it did not believe that it infringed on Hormel’s trade dress but that it would agree to change its packaging from a blue and yellow design to a red and white design. The dispute arose when Zwanenberg began manufacturing a meat product for sale and export to the Philippines which used packaging with an amended version of the blue and yellow design long used by Hormel. Hormel did not appreciate the similarity to its blue and yellow design an alleged that consumers were likely to be confused between the two products.
In March 2011, Hormel sent another cease and desist letter to Zwanenberg requesting that it stop using the amended trade dress on its product in the Philippines. According to Hormel’s complaint, Zwanenberg has repeatedly ignored its requests that it stop using the trade dress, thus requiring the lawsuit.
Hormel is asking for a court order to stop Zwanenberg from using the design. It is also seeking unspecified monetary damages and attorneys fees.