Trader Joe's Is Being Sued for Allegedly Ripping Off Milano Cookies

Will Pepperidge Farm reign victorious in their quest for cookie retribution? It’s hard to say for sure, but at least we now know that you can totally sue someone for making a cookie that is too similar to your own.

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Dec 7 2015, 8:00pm

Photo via Flickr user Simon D

The crumbly world of retail cookies is a damn viperous one. For an industry that deals exclusively in wholesome and genteel joy, the cookie biz is seeing an unsettling amount of bitterness between storied adversaries. And no, Mrs. Fields and Famous Amos are not haggling over a prenup. Instead, there's way more backstabbing and undercutting in the chocolate-chipped world of cookies than you probably thought.

READ: Almond Breeze Is Being Sued for Containing Almost No Almonds

Case in point: Veteran cookiesmith Pepperidge Farm recently brought legal action against Trader Joe's last Wednesday for what they perceive as a blatant attack on the company's signature brand, Milano. This is all over a new cookie Trader Joe's put on the market; Trader Joe's Crispy Cookies, to be specific.

Trader Joe's, the California-based specialty supermarket titan, is the object of a trademark infringement lawsuit following the release of their oblong-shaped sandwich cookies, which Pepperidge Farm alleges is unjustly ripping off the iconic Milano.

For those of you who were never forced to sit through one of your grandmother's boozy bridge tournaments, the oh-so-continental Milano cookie is a sandwiched variant on Pepperidge Farm's classic Naples cookie and is part of their "European" cookies series. The biscuit-like cookie was first rolled out in 1956 and has been the subject of a federal trademark registration since 2010. While Trader's Crispy Cookies are more rectangular in shape than the iconic Milano, the new cookie on the block does have rounded edges, "mimicking an overall oval shape," according to the Pepperidge Farm complaint.

"The acts of Trader Joe's have been malicious and calculated to injure Pepperidge Farm," further reads the complaint that was filed in federal court in Connecticut. No surprise that Pepperidge is going on the offensive, considering just how much the Milano has been their breadwinner over the last couple of decades. A spokesperson for Pepperidge Farms told Reuters that they will be seeking punitive damages because they feel "the trust Pepperidge Farm has built with consumers is of utmost importance to us."

Will Pepperidge Farm reign victorious in their quest for cookie retribution? It's hard to say for sure, but at least we now know that you can totally sue someone for making a cookie that is too similar to your own.

RECIPE: Cookie Dough Cookies

Now if only some sort of baked-good sage could weigh in and finally answer this age-old question: Is there really no wrong time to eat a Stella D'oro breakfast treat?