ALDI, Inc. Savoritz Brand Trademark
Savoritz is the Aldi brand trademark version of Cheez-its. Aldi being a discounted grocery store, the Savoritz baked cheese crackers are almost half the price of the name brand Cheez-it. The family size box of Savoritz is $2.89, whereas the family size of Cheez-its is $5.19 from instacart. The cost Savoirtz is more than three times less.
There is some similarity in the packaging, and a lot in the taste. The flavor of Savoritz baked cheese crackers is almost identical to the popular cheese crackers made by Kellogg North American Company’s Cheez-it. One reviewer claims that Savoritz are a “perfect replica of the national brand.” Same saltiness and cheesiness in a small crunchy cracker. In addition, the nutrition facts of Savoritz are very similar to that of Cheez-its. The same calories and almost the exact same ingredients.
Aldi Failed at Registering the Aldi Brand Savoritz Trademark
What’s interesting is that Aldi was unable to register the SAVORITZ trademark. In fact, the SAVORITZ trademark application was denied in view of existing registered trademarks for RITZ crackers. Despite this, Aldi continues to use the SAVORITZ name. And, that’s sometimes OK. Often, the Trademark Office (USPTO) denies a trademark application based on existing trademark registrations and prior pending applications.
A rejection by the Trademark Office is not the same thing as trademark infringement. When examining a trademark for confusingly similar marks that would block your application, the USPTO mostly focuses on two factors: (1) The similarity of the trademarks and (2) the similarity / relatedness of the goods. The federal courts, however, consider many other factors that more accurately reflect marketplace conditions.
Also, the Trademark Office is not always correct with their opinions on confusion. That is why the Trademark Act provides several levels of appeals for such decisions. Further, the case law in the federal courts declares that Trademark Office decisions concerning registration of a trademark are not binding on the issue of trademark infringement.
Despite Being Denied a Trademark Registration Aldi Continues to Use the Aldi Brand SAVORITZ Trademark
There are many reasons why Aldi Continues to Use the Aldi Brand SAVORITZ Trademark. One reason is that, in marketplace reality, consumers are unlikely to be confused that they are buying RITZ brand crackers when they buy SAVORITZ crackers. Aldi may have permission from RITZ to use the name. The owner of the RITZ brand may not believe confusion is likely. A federal court may have decided the issue in favor of Aldi. The owner of the RITZ brand may not care. RITZ may be licensing Aldi’s use of the name. Aldi could be paying a license fee to use the name. RITZ may even be producing the product private label for Aldi. Who knows?
Even Without A Trademark Registration Aldi Still Has Common Law Trademark Rights to the Aldi Brand SAVORITZ Trademark
Just because SAVORITZ is not registered with the Trademark Office, a competitor can’t just copy the name. This is because Aldi can assert common law – unregistered – trademark rights in its SAVORITZ trademark. Common Law trademark rights are ownership rights recognized by the Federal Trademark Act – even where no registration exists. Follow this link for a full discussion about common law trademark rights.
Of course, a registered trademark provides additional benefits than a common law trademark. Follow this link to learn about the benefits of a trademark registration.