MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A battle is brewing over a popular mix of flavored popcorn, pitting David against Goliath.
In fact, it just might take a U.S. District Court lawsuit to determine if several national name-brand snack makers are ignoring a protected trademark.
You probably recognize and have tasted the “Chicago Mix” of caramel, cheddar and plain popcorn sold by St. Paul-based Candyland, Incorporated.
The privately-owned company has owned rights to the name of the mix since 1992, and it’s their best-selling product.
So when big snack makers like Cornfield’s and Snyder’s-Lance began using the name on their popcorn mixes, selling to big box stores around the country, Candyland co-owner Brenda Lamb says they took action.
“We contacted them in the past to let them know it is a trademark and they’re infringing and we would like them to cease – and they have refused,” Lamb said.
The company turned to the Minneapolis law firm Winthrop and Weinstine to take action on its behalf in Federal Court.
“Candyland’s in the business of making popcorn and selling candy,” said attorney David Davenport. “They’re not in the litigation business.”
Davenport has served the two snack makers with a federal trademark infringement lawsuit, which alleges both are stealing a protected name and confusing consumers with lesser products.
“The Chicago Mix popcorn that they have branded and built up over the last 20-plus years is their best seller, and they sell that product throughout the United States and internationally,” he said.
For 82 years, the family-run business has made popcorn. Now, it is their principles of legal ownership that are going into the mix.
Candyland has also drawn up a suit against a third company. However, it is not been served pending the on-going settlement talks.