How it started: NatureSweet sues Mastronardi Produce in trademark dispute

Mastronardi Produce: Trademark suit unfoundedMastronardi Produce, Ltd., target of a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by NatureSweet, Ltd., is calling the legal action baseless.

NatureSweet asked a federal court to force Kingsville, Ontario-based Mastronardi Produce to drop the Angel Sweet name and winged-grape tomato design from a product expected to start shipping this month. San Antonio-based NatureSweet filed the suit May 8 in U.S. District Court in Dallas, alleging Angel Sweet violates its Cherubs trademark.

“NatureSweet’s claims ... are wrong on the facts and I am confident that Mastronardi will prevail in its defense of what is clearly an abusive action designed to frustrate the introduction of our Angel Sweet brand grape tomatoes,” Paul Mastronardi, president of Mastronardi Produce, said in a news release.

Mastronardi Produce has yet to sell any of the product, according to the release. An application to register Angel Sweet with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office is pending. The design and packaging were developed in-house and cannot be confused with NatureSweet’s, according to the company.

“(I)t appears to me that our competitor is so concerned with our products that it has resorted to use unlawful efforts to prevent us from lawfully and rightfully competing in the marketplace,” Mastronardi said in the release.

The announcement of the lawsuit was the first contact from NatureSweet about the trademark, according to Mastronardi Produce.