San Diego Trademark Attorney® Blog

Good-for-you Snack Bars Face Off in Trademark Battle

February 27, 2014

Granola-bar.jpgSan Diego - According to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the maker of KIND snacks is suing Clif Bar & Company for trade dress infringement over its soon-to-be released Mojo Bars. Kind LLC alleges that Clif unlawfully copied the design and packaging of its product line, making small changes over time to ultimately create a product that looks confusingly similar to KIND snacks.

In the filing, Kind points out how Clif's Mojo bar went from resembling the rest of the Clif Bar products to standing apart from them by appearing strikingly similar to Kind's bars. Specifically, Kind claims that "The new Mojo trade dress reflects a new and dramatic leap over the line in what appears to have been a calculated progression of incremental changes, designed each time to get closer and closer to the trade dress of Kind bars and farther and farther from the package design elements that would associate the product with the Clif brand."

Clif Bar & Company , which is headquartered in Northern California, is one of the country's leading energy bar and snack companies. Founded in 1992, the company's line of products is vast and includes bars specifically marketed toward women and children, in addition to its core CLIF varieties. In its years of operation, the company has been very successful, with its CEOs turning down a $120 million offer from Quaker Oats to buy the company in 2012.

Kind LLC, in contrast, is smaller and newer than Clif Bar & Company. The KIND brand was developed in 2004 and includes two main product lines, namely KIND Fruit & Nut and KIND PLUS. Its founder and CEO, Daniel Lubetzky, recently said of its trademark issues, "Clif is a long-standing and well-respected competitor in the nutritional bar marketplace, which makes this imminent release of a copy-cat product particularly disappointing." While making no formal comment as to the lawsuit, Clif showed no sign of backing down, stating," 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 percent organic ingredients."