Trademark owners in California and around the country usually take legal action to protect their intellectual property when branding elements similar to theirs are used in a way that could confuse consumers. This was the concern that prompted a Georgia woman to file a lawsuit in September against the big-box retailer Target. The woman founded the Atlanta-based company Garnish & Gather in 2013 to promote locally grown food, and she sent a trademark infringement notice to Target in August when she learned that the retailer planned to name its premium food brand Good & Gather.
Target ignored the warning and went on to launch its Good & Gather food line at more than 1,800 stores across the country. The woman claims in her trademark infringement litigation that about 50 products bearing Good & Gather branding are similar to goods sold by Garnish & Gather. She also says that both lines use a leaf motif as one of their primary branding elements.
The complaint, which was filed in a New York district court on Nov. 8, seeks a temporary restraining order to halt sales of products bearing Good & Gather branding. Target wants the case to be transferred to its home state of Minnesota. Target expects Good & Gather to grow into a brand worth billions of dollars in about a year. Garnish & Gather currently has about 800 meal kit subscribers in the Atlanta area.
Lawsuits such as this one are often expensive to litigate and can drag on for years. This is why infringers with deep pockets sometimes ignore warnings that are received from intellectual property owners with limited resources. When presented with such a situation, attorneys with experience in this area may pursue all legal remedies while also informing media outlets about alleged corporate bullying. This is because the threat of a public backlash might prompt even large companies to consider taking a more reasonable approach.