Two Georgia Sausage Companies Battle Over Trademarked Logos That Aren't Particularly Similar

from the sausage-party dept

We see a lot of dumb trademark lawsuits here at Techdirt, but the most frustrating of them is always those that assert similarities in trade dress when it’s plainly obvious that no such similarities exist. Even when afforded the greatest leeway for interpretation, there are times when one company will complain about the branding of another company that simply leaves you scratching your head.

A lawsuit filed by Stripling’s General Store against Carroll’s Sausage & Country Store is an exmaple of this.

Stripling’s General Store is suing Carroll’s Sausage & Country Store because it was using a “confusingly similar mark” to advertise its goods, according to the complaint filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

The general store also alleges unfair competition, false designation of origin and injury to its reputation.

Look, I could stretch this post out a bit with detailed language of what’s involved, but the fact is that Stripling is complaining that its logo and that of Carroll’s are too similar so as to mislead the public as to the origin of each’s products. Worth noting here is that Stripling fired off multiple C&Ds without receiving a response and that Carroll’s has taken no action to change its branding. Also notable is that Stripling is asking for all profits Carroll’s received while using this trade dress.

And, now, for the branding in quesiton.

It should be obvious just how different these logos are and, more importantly, how little confusion they are likely to create. After all, the only real similarity that is somewhat unique is the use of an image of a pig on each. The counter to that as an argument for uniqueness and confusion is: these are sausage companies. It would be odd if they didn’t use images of pigs in their logos. Beyond that, those images are different, as are the color schemes, the verbage, and the names of each source of goods on both logos, which are prominently displayed in both cases. To suggest anyone is going to be confused by any of this is more than a bit crazy.

But, with the explosion in permission culture in American business, we’ve now reached a point where sausage companies are fighting over the right to use the image of a pig in their logos. Great job, everyone!

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: carroll's sausage and country store, stripling's general store

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Two Georgia Sausage Companies Battle Over Trademarked Logos That Aren't Particularly Similar”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
David says:

Re: Obvious

It should be obvious that the first person to trademark a pig will have exclusive rights to pig images. There is no room in the market for two pigs.

There is a German lemonade company called "Fritz Cola" and they did not have the money for trademark lawyers and research. Their logo is a picture of the two founders since they considered it unlikely for that to clash with preexisting logos.

But then the facial details of those two pigs are also different and apparently that did not help.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Obvious

If they’re arguing that because they’re a sausage-making company that has been using a pig logo longer than their competitor, their competitor should lose the right to the pig logo, I have bad news for them:

Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

A Pig is Pretty Much Required in a Sausage Label

That is how you designate the real product, as opposed to beef or chicken sausage surrogate. Customers are expecting a picture of a pig.

The same holds for barbecue joints. The picture of the pig, often in an apron, is pretty standard in the business. People driving in unfamiliar territory recognize that image as signifying not a particular vendor but a particular class of vendor. You can write the name of the joint in the apron, or on the pig’s cap, to make a logo. It’s still a fairly weak mark, erase the name and you are back to identifying the type of goods.

Stripling’s loses on that basis, so we do not even get to the question of why the two pigs do not look alike.

David says:

Re: A Pig is Pretty Much Required in a Sausage Label

That is how you designate the real product, as opposed to beef or chicken sausage surrogate. Customers are expecting a picture of a pig.

Not "designate" but "insinuate". I was sort of annoyed to figure out that the dominant component of most "calf liver sausage" by weight is pig (liver sausage is great for camouflaging medication to cats but cats should not eat pork).

David says:

Re: Re:

"What brand of sausage should I buy?" "Oh come on, you know the one. Stripling’s, the one that has a pig on its label. Don’t ask me ever again."

At the store: "Which was it again? Ah, the one with the pig."

30 years later: "I took out the garbage. Why are there Carrol’s sausage peels?"

30 years worth of profit in damage. Perfectly reasonable. Clearly malicious intent to deceive, so this should actually be tripled.

Coming up next: suing the police station because of polluting the pig trade dress.

Andrei Mincov | Trademark Factory® (profile) says:

When the only similarities between the two brands in question are so common that they no longer function to distinguish products and services of one brand from identical or similar products and services of everyone else, your trademark infringement argument is doomed. Unless the totality of similarities leads one to believe that it was a deliberate attempt to take a free ride on the reputation of your brand. Here we have more than just a pig. We have a general shape of a circle We have an inner circle. We have the word “store”. We have a pig. We have the word “EST.” followed by four digits representing a year. We have a name that ends with a possessive “‘S”. Taking the literal elements out of the equation, the real question is, does Stripling’s logo have anything to it that can ever be enforced? And if yes, what are they?

Andrei Mincov

Founder and CEO of Trademark Factory® /, the only firm in the world that offers trademarking services with a predictable, guaranteed result, for a predictable, guaranteed budget. We can help you register your trademarks with a free comprehensive trademark search, for a single all-inclusive flat fee, with a 100% money-back guarantee.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...