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US: Mastronardi "surprised" by Naturesweet lawsuit

Naturesweet has issued a complaint against Mastronardi that alleges that the company has intentionally chosen to use a product name and design that are similar enough to their own trademarks to confuse consumers.

The allegation relates to Mastronardi's "Angel Sweet" tomatoes, which Naturesweet says is a copy of Naturesweet "Cherub" tomatoes. Furthermore, Naturesweet also says Mastronardi has copied its winged tomato design.

Bryan Ambelang, President and CEO of Naturesweet says, "Naturesweet has spent many years and significant resources to develop consumer recognition of the Naturesweet and Cherubs trademarks and our winged tomato design. It's wrong for competitors to copy our hard work in ways likely to confuse consumers."

However, Mastronardi hit back against the claims, which they say came as a surprise. The complain was issued in Northern Texas very recently and though it has been widely reported, Mastronardi are yet to be served with the complaint officially.

Paul Mastronardi, president and CEO said, "Mastronardi is surprised that this action was commenced because Naturesweet has never complained or made any contact with Mastronardi regaling any issues relating to the design and packaging of Mastronardi's Angel Sweet brand grape tomatoes."

Mr Mastronardi says that, though they have not had the chance to read the terms of the complaint they are surprised that Naturesweet would file what they see as a baseless complaint.

"Naturesweet’s claims set forth in their press release are wrong on the facts and I am confident that Mastronardi will prevail in its defense of what is clearly an abusive action designed to frustrate the introduction of our Angel Sweet brand grape tomatoes. Naturesweet is a company that has been around the block for quite some time and in my opinion simply knows better than to resort to these types of improper tactics," commented Mr. Mastronardi. "Mastronardi uses its own trademarks and its own packaging designs and works with its team of professional advisors in connection with the development, design and implementation of launching new products to market. There is no one who would mistake our packaging and design for that of Naturesweet."

Mr Mastronardi further said of Angel Sweet, "It’s looking like it will be a must have item in many stores, and it appears to me that our competitor is so concerned with our products that it has resorted to use unlawful efforts to prevent us from lawfully and rightfully competing in the marketplace."

Publication date: 5/10/2012


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