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Mars Sues J.M. Smucker Over Alleged Greenies Trademark Infringement


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Mars Inc., based in McLean, Va., company is suing Ohio-based J.M. Smucker Co., alleging the company is infringing on its trademark for Greenies Pill Pockets pet treats with its Milk-Bone Pill Pouches.

Mars and its Tennessee-based subsidiary, Mars Petcare U.S. Inc. claim J.M. Smucker and subsidiary Big Heart Pet Inc., which owns Milk-Bone, created a “confusingly similar” product, according to a documents filed last Monday in U.S. District Court in Virginia.

Mars also said the term “pouches” is misleading because the “pet treat is simply a treat with a hole in the middle and thus is not a ‘pouch.’”

Mars claims the product could damage the reputation of its Greenies Pill Pockets, which have been sold online and in pet stores since August 2002 with sales in excess of $80 million per year.

Mars is asking the court to determine damages, including profits attributable to the Pill Pouches’ mark and attorney’s fees. The company also asked for the court to prohibit the further use of the Pill Pouches brand and order the destruction of all packages, labels and the materials that bear the infringing mark.

An attorney representing Smucker wrote to Mars in April saying company officials “do not believe that a likelihood of confusion will occur as the result” from the distribution and sale of the Milk-Bone Pill Pouches.

The attorney also claimed at least six other brands of pet treats use medication disguising products, including Butler Scripts Pill Pals and Zoe Pill Pops.

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