Tony Chachere's Files Suit to Protect Trademarks—Claims Unfair Trade and Breach of Contract

Sep 26, 2011, 06:00 ET from Tony Chachere’s Creole Foods

OPELOUSAS, La., Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Tony Chachere's Creole Foods of Opelousas, Inc. today filed a lawsuit in United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (Docket #11-cv-1712) against Big Easy Foods of Louisiana, LLC (formerly French Market Foods) in response to the defendant's refusal to stop infringing on the Chachere's trademarks.  Big Easy Foods formerly was Tony Chachere's licensee for certain prepared and packaged food products.  

"This company was my grandfather's dream," explains Don Chachere, President and CEO of Tony Chachere's Creole Foods. "We owe it to Tony, our employees, and the millions of consumers that love this company to defend it to the best of our ability.  Our well-known and distinctive packaging is our brand.  People all over the country recognize and trust our products because of that brand."

After terminating the agreement, Big Easy Foods entered into direct competition against Tony Chachere's and began selling its own products while closely duplicating the Tony Chachere's brand, wording, and packaging.

Tony Chachere's expends millions of dollars annually promoting the company's name, colorful packaging, and products, making it one of the most advertised family owned food companies in the nation.  As a result of such a large financial investment and heavily researched marketing and advertising plans, the Tony Chachere's brand has become well recognized throughout the nation and other countries.

"We believe that the defendant's use of nearly identical packaging constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition and is likely to cause confusion, including reverse confusion, deception and mistakes, in that it will lead consumers to believe, falsely, that the products of the Defendant are licensed, sponsored, franchised, approved or in some way connected with Tony Chachere's," explained New Orleans attorney Richard Leefe.

Big Easy Foods is accused of violating provisions of state and federal law including federal unfair competition and false designation of origin, federal anti-dilution, Louisiana trademark infringement and unfair competition, Louisiana dilution and injury to business reputation, Louisiana unfair trade practices and consumer protection law, and breach of contract.

In a statement released by company officials earlier this week, Tony Chachere's vowed to do everything possible to protect its brand and continue serving the public the finest in Creole cuisine.

SOURCE Tony Chachere’s Creole Foods