C is for case closed. In a quick ending to this cookie caper, Pepperidge Farms dropped its lawsuit in which it claimed Trader Joe’s ripped of the trademarked look and packaging off its famous Milano cookie.
Since 1956, Pepperidge Farms has sold cookies branded with the MILANO trademark. Besides its name, the Milano is just as famous for the look of the cookie and its distinct packaging. The cookies consist of a thin layer of chocolate sandwiched between two biscuit cookies. Not only is the MILANO name protected as a registered trademark but the look of the cookie is as well. Over the last ten years, Pepperidge Farm has sold hundreds of millions of Milano cookies resulting in revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars.Trader Joe’s is a chain of food stores that started distributing the “Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies” that feature a configuration that very closely resembles the Milano. The cookie contains a chocolate filling sandwiched between two rounded rectangular cookies, mimicking an overall oval shape. The Crispy Cookies also come in a paper bag that looks similar to the Milano brand. Pepperidge Farm claimed that the cookie, its overall look and design and packaging was made with the intent to confuse costumers between the two brands of cookies. Pepperidge Farms claimed that there is evidence of consumers actually confusing the two products including 125,000 Google hits likening the Crispy Cookies to the Milano cookies. In December, Pepperidge Farms sued Trader’ Joe’s for trademark infringement and related causes of action but the case was brought to a swift end yesterday. A Federal judge approved the dismissal of the case with prejudice, meaning that a similar action cannot be brought again in the future. The two sides claim that they have reached a “mutually satisfactory resolution” and other than that, terms of the settlement will not be disclosed. It is not clear whether Trader Joe’s will still be distributing the counterfeit cookies in question so hit the shelves to get them while you can.