Trademark News & Screw-ups Hormel, Purina in beef over bacon trademark

Trademarks will not give you a monopoly over your product itself. A trademark will not allow you to prevent your competitor from using bacon in their pet food. The real question here is whether the use of "Black Label" by Nestle Purina Petcare Company for dog treats infringes on Hormel Foods' "Black Label." More specifically, is Hormel's "Black Label" distinctive enough to prevent anyone from calling their food products—even pet food—that. Based on the law suit, looks like Hormel's strongest point is HOW Purina is using the name to create an association with Hormel's bacon. If Hormel can prove that Purina indeed "exploited an image of Hormel's Black Label-brand bacon in an advertisement that depicts an excited cartoon dog sniffing at the meat case in a grocery store," THAT could be the real clincher in this case.

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