Wallingford: While Edible Arrangements’ lawyers were wrapping up a settlement in a trademark lawsuit they filed against a small food consulting firm Edible Commerce Consulting of Dover, New Hampshire, a South Carolina candy company was filing suit on the fruit retailing and ecommerce enterprise.
Vaughn Russell Candy Kitchen, of Greenville, filed suit in US District Court also in Greenville, over the trademark claim for the term “Incredible Edibles” by Edible Arrangements. The candy company says they have been using the term for more than thirty years for chocolate-covered cookie bites and that they have a registration with the trademark office for the term “Incredible Edibles,” [1,036,335].
For now at least Edible Arrangement’s registration has been blocked by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to the company’s legal filing.
Vaughn Russell’s suit, says Edible Arrangements however is still using the “near-identical name for a line of its hallmark cut-fruit bouquets.”
In late April, Edible Arrangements announced they had settled a trademark dispute with Edible Commerce, with that company agreeing to change its company name, any other elements of the settlement were not disclosed.
Before settling, Edible Commerce showed the feisty fight of a small business entrepreneur by marshalling pro bono legal support from the University of New Hampshire, to take on Kevin P. Walsh of Williams Walsh & O'Connor in North Haven and Meichelle MacGregor of Cowan Liebowitz and Latman in New York.
According to the CT Law Tribune the New Hampshire team won some early victories at the trademark office when their challenge to Edible’s trademark wasn’t immediately dismissed.
Edible Arrangements President Rob Price, said in a release, [our] aggressive growth plan demands that we protect our brand on behalf of our franchisees," adding, "we will remain vigilant to preserve our hard-earned intellectual property.”
In 2014, the company filed a $97 million lawsuit against 1-800-Flowers for using its trademarked names, including within hidden computer code to attract web searchers. 1-800 Flowers countersued saying they had been using some of the terms before the founding of Edible Arrangements and that the company was seeking to trademark Generic terms, adding, the suit was designed to intimidate competitors.
The companies settled the lawsuits in 2016 without revealing any details of the settlement.
Edible Arrangements is a privately-owned company and has a lot to protect these days. The company was founded less than two decades ago in 1999 by Tariq Farid, and his brother Kamran with a single store in East Haven, selling fruit designed to simulate flower bouquets.
The product was an early hit among consumers and by 2001 the pair began franchising the concept. Today there are more than 1,300 locations and sales of $500 million selling, “fresh-fruit bouquets”, fruit salads, smoothies and chocolate-dipped fruits.