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A David-and-Goliath legal battle with one of the country’s largest retailers could be the best publicity that a small Georgia-based organic food delivery company has even gotten. But for now, at least, it’s not particularly happy about it.

The company Garnish & Gather’s trademark dispute with Target has already earned headlines across the country. And so far, Target is not backing down from selling and marketing what it predicts will be its biggest, multi-billion-dollar brand.

Garnish & Gather is suing Target over the retailer’s new, similarly-named Good & Gather line of store-brand food products. Target introduced the new brand to its stores in September, labeling hundreds of items with the new name that’s meant to signify “great food—from dairy and produce to ready-made pastas, meats and more… all the good stuff you love without artificial flavors, synthetic colors, artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup.”

Trouble is, Garnish & Gather says it has been offering similar products since 2012. And by offering similar products, using a similar name with a similar look, Garnish & Gather says Good & Gather is infringing its rights.

Garnish & Gather’s federal lawsuit says Target’s new brand is part of a “plan to deceive consumers” by engaging in “willful and blatant copying of G&G’s trademarks, business model and logo imagery,” falsely suggesting that G&G “is the source of Target’s food products and/or services, or that such food products and services are endorsed or sponsored by, or otherwise associated or affiliated with G&G.”

Garnish & Gather says it notified Target of the similarities before Good & Gather officially launched, but Target went ahead with the launch anyway. And now, more than two months later, “the brand is off to a very good start,” Target CEO Brian Cornell told investors recently. “The initial response from the guests has been fantastic.”

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But Garnish & Gather thinks it’s anything but fantastic. In addition to having similar names, G&G says Target is using a similar logo for Good & Gather “that immediately calls G&G’s logo to mind,” and has also displayed “an image of a fork and knife with the traditional Target logo in the center as the plate,” which it says is “a copy of G&G’s fork and knife imagery.”

In a statement, Target says it is “confident that Target’s brands, including Good & Gather, are distinctive in the marketplace. We’ve shared that feedback with Garnish & Gather and will continue to defend these claims through the legal process.”

Garnish & Gather is positioning itself as the aggrieved underdog in this fight. Its lawsuit points out that Target is “a publicly traded company with a revenue of over $75.3 billion that currently employs over 360,000 people,” while Garnish & Gather “has a revenue of $1.25 million, employs 12 employees” and is run by “a mother of twin four-year-old boys.” That said, Garnish & Gather says it has “become a regional success and is in the process of expanding to the national market.” So the last thing it needs now is for consumers to confuse its business and its products with Target’s.

Garnish & Gather is suing for trademark infringement, unfair competition, fraud and deceptive trade practices. It’s seeking unspecified damages, and a permanent injunction preventing Target from using Good & Gather logos and images that Garnish & Gather says are too similar to its own.

“Time is of the essence in that Target’s conduct is tarnishing G&G’s intellectual property every day,” Garnish & Gather’s attorney argues.

In the meantime, the more attention and notoriety this case gets, the more that consumers know there is such a thing as Garnish & Gather. So whether or not this small company wins its case against a big competitor, it may have already proven that any publicity is good publicity.

Image sources: Garnish & Gather / Target

One Comment

  1. Never heard of Garnish and Gather until this article

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