#GreatHarvest Files #Trademark Lawsuit Against #Panera Over Slogan

By Joseph Mandour on March 17, 2016

breadSan Diego – Great Harvest Bread Company has filed a trademark lawsuit, alleging that Panera Bread’s new advertising campaign slogan is confusingly similar to Great Harvest’s corporate slogan.

Both companies are known for their baked goods, with Great Harvest operating more than 200 owner-operated stores and Panera operating close to 2,000 locations. Great Harvest’s corporate slogan is “Bread. The way it ought to be.” The company has used the slogan since August 2014, applied for a trademark in October 2014, and received trademark registration in December 2015.

In June 2015, Panera launched its new advertising campaign “Food as it should be,” which speaks to the company’s pledge to cease using artificial ingredients in its food, claiming it to be more natural.

After Panera launched its advertising campaign, Great Harvest sent a cease and desist letter, asking Panera to stop using the phrase in advertising and promotion. After receiving the letter, Panera then applied for the trademark “Panera Food as it should be”. Great Harvest responded by formally filing an opposition to Panera’s trademark with the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board “the TTAB”..

Great Harvest’s concern over Panera’s phrase rests on the possibility of customer confusion. Both Great Harvest and Panera are already known for selling similar baked goods and products. Great Harvest feels that with the similarity in product as well as slogan, it is likely that consumers will be confused between the companies. Great Harvest feels that the similarity in slogans will only breed confusion between the companies that obviously already have similarities. The two organization’s phrases, Great Harvest argues, have the same conotation in a consumer mindset, thus violating Great Harvest’s trademark. Great Harvest further argues that Panera’s use of the phrase intentionally causes confusing among consumers about an implied relationship between the two organizations that does not exist.

Great Harvest president Eric Keshin made a statement on the lawsuit saying, “We need to protect the investment being made by our individual small business owners from being drowned out or overrun by a multi-million dollar national advertising campaign.”

The trademark lawsuit was filed in a Charlotte, North Carolina federal court. Panera has yet to respond to requests for comment.

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