Desert Glory drops trademark infringement charges

11/23/2010 12:23:25 PM
Ashley Bentley

San Antonio-based Desert Glory dropped its lawsuit against Ag-Mart Produce Inc., after the Plant City, Fla.-based company agreed to discontinue use of a packaging design Desert Glory claimed infringed on a trademark it holds for its NatureSweet Cherubs packaging.

Courtesy Santasweets.com

As a result of a settlement with Desert Glory, Ag-Mart's  SweetRipes tomatoes will now be packaged in a clear-based package with a blue label.

The lawsuit was filed in Tucson, Ariz., in September, after Ag-Mart, which does business as Santa Sweets Inc., launched its SweetRipes tomatoes in a pilot phase.

The packaging used for the SweetRipes tomatoes too closely resembled the yellow-bottom, yellow label Cherubs packaging, which Desert Glory claims gives it a competitive advantage because of its uniqueness.

“Desert Glory spent years and millions of dollars to develop and protect its trademark rights in the NatureSweet Cherubs Packaging,” Bryant Ambelang, president and chief executive officer, said in a September news release. “It’s wrong for a competitor to copy our hard work in ways likely to confuse consumers for their own gain.”

Courtesy Desert Glory

The original packaging for Ag-Mart's new SweetRipes tomatoes had  a yellow base and label, a color palate and design too close to Desert Glory's NatureSweet Cherubs tomatoes, the company claimed.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ag-Mart has agreed to cease use of its current SweetRipes packaging or any variation that includes an opaque or colored bottom or predominately yellow label, according to a statement from Desert Glory. The company plans to use a new clear bottom and blue label, according to the statement.

In October, Eclipse Berry Farms LLC agreed to take the packaging for its new CalFruit grape tomatoes off the market after opposition from Desert Glory for the same reason. That dispute was handled outside of the courtroom.



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