A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Tecumseh Poultry dba MBA Poultry against Perdue Holdings Inc. and Perdue Farms Inc., which accused Perdue of infringing on the “Smart Chicken” and other trademarks used by MBA Poultry. According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, U.S. District Judge John Gerrard of Lincoln said this week he would not dismiss the lawsuit against Perdue But he said Tecumseh Poultry has work to do to prove its case.

"The court has its initial reservations about whether Tecumseh will ultimately be able to prove a likelihood of confusion" among consumers by Perdue's use of the trademarks in question, he said. "The court also recognizes Perdue's concern that Tecumseh has unduly delayed bringing this action. But these matters cannot be resolved on a motion to dismiss."

The lawsuit was filed this year, even though Perdue started using the trademarks in question several years ago. Tecumseh alleges that Perdue's trademarked “Simply Smart” and “Taste the Perdue Difference” is deceptively similar to its own trademarked “Smart Chicken” and “Taste the Air Chilled Difference” slogans. The suit also notes that Coleman Natural Foods, a wholly owned subsidiary of Perdue, sells fresh organic chicken products in green Styrofoam trays, like Tecumseh does.

Tecumseh alleges that Perdue's marketing practices "are likely to cause confusion among consumers as to the source of sponsorship or Perdue's products."

In his ruling, Gerrard said "that Tecumseh's allegations of likely confusion, while far from compelling, are plausible on their face.

Source: Lincoln Journal-Star