Regal Baking Company successfully foiled Monaco Baking Company’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction in a trade dress dispute over common cookie designs that began last August.

US District Court Judge, Consuelo B. Marshall, found that Plaintiff has no trade dress interest that it can protect. Moreover, the Court found that Regal Baking Company was not in violation of a Temporary Restraining Order because there never were any trade dress rights. Seven Lives, Inc., d.b.a. Monaco Baking Company (Monaco) vs. Regal Baking Company (Regal), Case No. CV 00-08851 CBM (Ctx).

“This case,” said William E. Levin (www.levinhawes.com) of Laguna Beach, Calif. and counsel representing Regal, “raised the question of when is a cookie design legally protectable and when is it not? Our trademark and copyright laws protect original and distinctive designs, but do not protect designs which are common and in the public domain.”

Levin explained that: “Because we prevailed, grandmothers, pastry chefs, and even competitive baking companies can bake cookies in the shape of Valentine’s Day hearts, St. Patrick’s Day four-leaf clovers, or Christmas trees, without fear of reprisal. Otherwise, the entire cookie industry might have crumbled. Competitors would have had to worry about violating any rights that they thought Monaco might claim.”

In August 2000, this matter was filed in US District Court, Central District of California, Western Division. Regal filed a counter-claim for unfair competition in September 2000, and is seeking over $5 million in damages against Monaco.

“Trade dress is a subcategory of trademark law that protects against the imitation of a product or its packaging,” stated Levin, “but certain steps need to be taken if a party is to make a credible claim, which Monaco failed to do to protect their alleged cookie design secrets. Instead, they went overboard and tried to prohibit Regal from making its line of 1301 separate bakery items, which is a misuse of the legal process. That’s why we applaud the Court for taking the appropriate action not just for Regal’s sake, but the sake of all cookie bakers.”

Regal Baking Company/Regal Cake Gallery (www.regalcakegallery.com) are fictitious business names for Thomson Investment Company, Inc., of which Patrick M. Leung and his wife, Rosa, are shareholders and officers. Established in 1951, Regal is one of Los Angeles’ premier bakeries, with locations at 1068 South Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles and 20812 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills, Calif.

Editor’s Note: Monaco Baking Company, 12814 Lakeland Road, Santa Fe Springs, Calif., is represented by Michelman & Robinson, LLP, Encino, Calif.