Trademark Musings

Thoughts on trademark issues by Laura Winston

Breyers and Dreyer’s

Where two trademark holders have territorial rights in similar marks in different parts of the country, they will sometimes enter into a concurrent use agreement to carve out the territory in which each will use the mark.  This creates branding issues when the brand owner wants to expand into other regions.

Recently, while eating more ice cream than I should have, I thought as I often do about the Edy’s/Dreyer’s situation.  I knew that Edy’s, a popular ice cream brand in the eastern US, is known as Dreyer’s in the west, with nearly identical packaging and logos.  I assumed that Dreyer’s had to use a different mark in the eastern US because of an ice cream brand I know from childhood, Breyers.  Seems my assumptions were correct.

The Dreyer’s brand was founded in the San Francisco area during the Depression by Messrs. Dreyer and Edy.  It was local for a long time, but according to the Harvard Business School Alumni Bulletin, in or around 1981, Kraft, the owner of Breyers, came after Dreyer’s for trademark infringement.  Dreyer’s, having been in business for over 50 years, worked out a concurrent use agreement with Breyers whereby Dreyer’s was only sold in 13 western states, so when they decided to expand nationally, they chose the name of the co-founder, Mr. Edy, for the eastern version.  Dreyer’s and Edy’s are now owned by Nestle.  I understand, though, that Breyer’s is now available nationwide, so the agreement may have been quite one-sided.

Concurrent use agreements apparently apply even in the most magical places on earth: as reported in Startup Princess, “At the end of Main Street, USA at The Magic Kingdom in Disneyworld, Florida is the “Edy’s Ice Cream Parlor.” At the end of Main Street USA at Disneyland, California the same shoppe is called, “Dreyer’s Ice Cream Parlor.”

 Watch this space for the exciting expose about Hellman’s/Best Foods Mayonnaise.

April 14, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,

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