Kind Sues Clif Bar

Trademark infringement lawsuit focuses on redesigned Mojo snack bar packaging

Published in CSP Daily News

NEW YORK -- Snack bar maker Kind LLC has filed a lawsuit against rival snack bar maker Clif Bar in federal court in Manhattan seeking to prevent Clif from releasing its Clif Mojo bars in packaging that mimics the unique and distinctive packaging of Kind bars, the company said.

Clif is poised to launch the Mojo bars in packaging that abandons the traditional look and feel of the Clif and Mojo brands and instead co-opts the look of Kind's products, Kind claims.

In the suit, Kind accuses Clif of mimicking Kind's products in its choice of flavor names, ingredient combinations and product features, and that the new Mojo packaging copies several key elements of Kind's distinctive trade dress (many aspects of which are the subject of the federal trademark registrations). A few of those key elements include the rectangular transparent window on the front panel that reveals a large portion of the bar itself; a horizontal stripe along the front of the packaging calling out the flavor name and description of the product line (e.g. Fruit & Nut); two vertical color stripes at both ends of the bar; and a bulleted list of key health attributes set against a black background.

"Clif is a longstanding and well-respected competitor in the nutritional bar marketplace, which makes this imminent release of a copy-cat product particularly disappointing," said Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of New York City-based Kind.

"Kind will vigorously defend its hard-earned goodwill and brand value against anyone that seeks unfairly to dilute or detract from the Kind brand," said Justin Mervis, Kind vice president and general counsel. "Kind is committed to preventing the harm to consumers and retailers that will result if the Mojo line is launched in confusingly similar packaging. Consumers stand to be misled by the deceptive packaging of the new Mojo bars, and retailers will suffer if sales of the top-selling Kind brand are cannibalized by an infringing product."

He concluded, "While Kind welcomes competition, Kind insists that such competition be fair and not based on consumer deception."

Emeryville, Calif.-based Clif Bar & Co. provided the following statement to CSP Daily News: "We're excited by the launch of our Clif Mojo Fruit and Nut and Clif Mojo Dark Chocolate flavors. Retailers and consumers are thrilled to have a fruit and nut and dark chocolate snack bar made with 70% organic ingredients. At this point, we're not commenting on the pending legal matter."

Click here to read the full complaint.

Keywords: 
alternative snacks