( File photo )

MightyVine, a Chicago-area grower of greenhouse tomatoes, has filed a lawsuit to stop Mastronardi Produce from calling its Sprinkles tomatoes “Tiny Mighty Tomatoes,” claiming trademark infringement.

MightyVine, established five years ago, has 22.5 acres of tomato production, and the brand name is listed on some Chicago-area restaurant menus, examples of which are included in the lawsuit.

“The simple thing is, we’ve worked hard over the last five years to build the brand and gained some notoriety, especially in Chicago restaurants and in stores,” MightyVine CEO Gary Lazarski said Jan. 23. “ … Nobody likes to be involved in litigation, but you have to defend the brand.”

MightyVine is a dba of Pasquesi Farms LLC, which filed the suit on Jan. 14. The company sent letters in June and September requesting that Mastronardi, Kingsville, Ontario, cease using “Tiny Mighty Tomatoes.”

“Mastronardi’s use of the word “MIGHTY” among other descriptive and generic wording creates the false impression that Mastronardi’s tomato products originate from MightyVine, or that MightyVine is somehow connected or associated with Mastronardi’s tomato products, so as to deceive customers or to cause confusion or mistake as to the origin or affiliation of Mastronardi’s and MightyVine’s tomatoes,” according to the lawsuit.

Mastronardi Produce issued a statement through Julia Shreve, marketing director.

“We believe it is without merit and we will vigorously defend our intellectual property rights,” Shreve said.

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