Snyders Lace unit Princeton Vanguard wins appeal against PepsiCos opposition to Pretzel Crisps TM

Snyder's Lace unit Princeton Vanguard wins appeal against PepsiCo's opposition to Pretzel Crisps TM

Princeton Vanguard, a division of Snyder's-Lance, has won an appeal to overturn a ruling preventing it registering Pretzel Crisps as a trademark.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board "erred in its genericness analysis when it assessed the Pretzel Crisps mark as a compound term instead of a phrase".

The TTAB, which was acting on a motion filed by PepsiCo's snack business Frito-Lay, had previously cancelled Princeton Vanguard's trademark for Pretzel Crisps. According to the board's assessment, the trademark could not be registered because it was a generic term for pretzel crackers.

The Court of Appeals found the TTAB applied the "incorrect legal standard" when it assessed whether Pretzel Crisps constituted a generic term.

"Because we find that the Board applied the incorrect legal standard in assessing whether the term Pretzel Crisps is generic, we vacate the Board’s decision cancelling [the trade mark registration] and its decision sustaining Frito-Lay’s opposition," the court concluded.

Princeton Vanguard initially registered the Pretzel Crisps trademark in 2004. Frito-Lay launched its challenge to the trademark in 2010. The case has now been referred back to the TTAB.

A spokesperson for PepsiCo told just-food: "PepsiCo doesn't comment on litigation."

Sid Levy, Snyder’s Lance senior director of communications and community relations, said: "We agree and are pleased with the Federal Circuit’s decision; however, the process is ongoing, and out of respect, we cannot discuss anything further."