Kellogg’s Ends Toucan Sam Trademark Dispute with Charitable Donation

By Joseph Mandour on November 16, 2011

toucan-thumb-200x199-30161 San Diego – Kellogg Co. of Battle Creek, Michigan has decided to drop its trademark infringement claims against the Maya Archaeology Initiative (MAI), a Northern California-based non-profit organization.

Kellogg and the MAI issued a joint statement saying that in addition to dropping the lawsuit, Kellogg will be making a $100,000 contribution to help launch one of MAI’s priority projects.

In its lawsuit, filed earlier this year, Kellogg claimed that the toucan in MAI’s logo was a trademark infringement with its own Toucan Sam trademark used to market its famous Froot Loops breakfast cereal. Kellogg Co., founded in 1906, is the world’s leading breakfast cereal manufacturer and marketer and is also a leading producer of other breakfast items and snack foods. The Maya Archaeology Initiative is a non-profit group that provides educational and training opportunities in Mayan history and culture to Guatemalan young people in order to protect and improve Northern Guatemala.

Attorneys for Kellogg had originally asked the non-profit to cease and desist using the Toucan logo as its symbol. The Kellogg Toucan Sam is a cartoon-like, bright blue bird with a colorful, striped beak meant to imitate the colors in its Froot Loops cereal. The MAI toucan is a more realistic version endemic to Central America and is black with a yellow beak. After months of discussions, Kellogg decided to drop the case after determining that a likelihood of confusion was not likely.

After Kellogg disclosed its contribution to the charitable organization, MAI president Dr. Francisco Estrada-Belli said, “Kellogg’s important contribution to the Maya Archaeology Initiative will help us achieve our goal of building a Maya Cultural Center in Peten (Guatemala), the cradle of Maya history, so children, families and visitors can learn about the Maya and their rich heritage. We are grateful to Kellogg for joining us in these efforts.”

In addition to making the generous contribution, Kellogg will also be featuring major Mayan accomplishments and a link to the MAI website next year on its Froot Loops cereal boxes.

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