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Candy Dispute Filed in Minneapolis Raises Branding Issues

In a segment of the economy that relies heavily on branded products, it is vital to establish and enforce copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property rights. It can take years to build a successful brand, and disputes often arise when another company seems to be copying the packaging or other attributes of an established product.

A dispute about "gummi" candies is a case in point. In a federal lawsuit filed in Minneapolis, Farley's & Sather's Candy Co., maker of a gummi brand called Trolli, accuses a German company, Mederer, of using "confusingly similar" packaging for a competing line of gummi snacks.

There are few barriers to entry in the lucrative non-chocolate candy industry; anyone can make and market his or her own soft candies. But certain brands have achieved significant market share. Trolli, with its fruity flavors and playful animal shapes, is one of those.

Mederer originally introduced the Trolli brand to the American market, then sold the North American rights to it to another candy company in 1997. Farley's & Sather's acquired those rights from the Wrigley company in 2005.

The suit seeks an injunction against Mederer and its American subsidiary to stop using the allegedly deceptive packaging for its "efrutti Gummi Bears" and Sour Neon Worms candy bags. The suit also demands compensatory damages, based on trademark infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices.

If you have branding questions or are involved in business litigation, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney and take appropriate action. In the Twin Cities, Patrick Burns & Associates provides professional advice and highly skilled service tailored to each client's particular interests and objectives.

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/print-edition/2010/11/12/gummi-rumble-farleys-sathers-sues.html

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