NatureSweet claims TM infringement

NatureSweet claims TM infringement

US tomato producer NatureSweet has asked a court to block rival tomato packer Mastronardi Produce from using the Angel Sweet name and winged-tomato design for a new product that is expected to start shipping this month.

San Antonio-based NatureSweet said it filed the trademark dispute in a US District Court in Dallas yesterday (8 May).

The lawsuit alleges trademark infringement, design patent infringement and unfair competition by Mastronardi, which is based in Ontario, Canada.

According to NatureSweet, consumers could confuse Mastronardi's grape tomato product name and design with NatureSweet Cherubs and its winged tomato trademark. NatureSweet alleges Mastronardi copied the trademark to cash in on the success of its Cherubs product.

In addition to requiring Mastronardi to stop using the Angel Sweet name and logo, NatureSweet also asked the court to award it any profits from the various alleged infringements, as well as to compensate for damages.

"The confusing nature of copycat trademarks could also mislead consumers and others to wrongly believe that the copycat is a NatureSweet product, or that the two companies are somehow connected - neither of which would be true," Bryant Ambelang, president of NatureSweet, said.

Mastronardi Produce said it expected to issue a response "within the hour" as it is reviewing NatureSweet's claims.