Dunkin' and Beyond Meat Are Being Sued Over Their Plant-Based Breakfast Sandwich Slogan
As one of the world's most famous rappers, Snoop Dogg could probably tell you it's not a good idea to rip off other people's rhymes. But an ad campaign he was involved with for Dunkin' and Beyond Meat is being sued for exactly that: trademark infringement over two similar slogans.
Last week, Vegadelphia Foods (a Philadelphia-based company officially known as Sonate Corporation) sued Beyond Meat as well as the parent company of Dunkin' over the slogan "Great Taste, Plant-Based" which was used in 2019 to launch Dunkin' plant-based Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich. Vegadelphia alleges the phrase, as well as other campaign similarities, inference on their own "Where Great Taste is Plant-Based" slogan which they've used since 2013 and received a federal trademark for in 2015.
In their complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Florida, Vegadelphia argues that not only is the slogan "an imitation of Vegadelphia's trademark," but that Dunkin' and Beyond Meat also "used placement and imagery in their branding that is nearly identical to Vegadelphia's own branding" including an "overlap in font style, stacked text, and even sunray background imagery" in a manner that was "beyond coincidence."
The filing even points to Snoop Dogg's involvement: In a November 2019 TV commercial, the star's "first line as he hands a sandwich to a customer from the register was, 'You want that Plant-Based Great Taste fresh out of the oven?" according to documents.
Adding to the intrigue, Vegadelphia alleges that the United States Patent and Trademark Office itself "confirmed the likelihood of confusion between the parties' marks" on June 12, 2020, and rejected an attempt by Beyond Meat to trademark the phrase "Plant-Based Great Taste."
Vegadelphia's filing states that a "conservative estimate" of the revenue made from the sandwich "exceeds $135 million over the course of just the initial six months of sales, with Defendants enjoying a combined estimated 60 [percent] profit margin" and other financial gains.
As such, Vegadelphia is asking for "all or some of: Vegadelphia's damages, a reasonable royalty on infringing sales, an equitable portion of the infringers' profits, statutory damages, punitive damages under state law, attorneys' fees and costs."
In a comment to Reuters, Vegadelphia said that Dunkin' and Beyond's "blatant use of our slogan and lack of response gave us the impression that they felt they are above the law."
A Dunkin' spokesperson said the company does not comment on pending litigation. Beyond Meat has yet to respond to our request for a comment.
Meanwhile, Dunkin' essentially axed the Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich last year due to poor sales, according to CNBC.