Vitarroz Corp. v. Borden, Inc.

644 F.2d 960 (1981)

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Vitarroz Corp. v. Borden, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
644 F.2d 960 (1981)

Facts

Vitarroz Corporation (plaintiff) sold food products to approximately 4,000 retail stores in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, half of which were small bodegas catering to a Spanish-speaking clientele. In 1976, Vitarroz began selling a cracker under the name BRAVO’S. The BRAVO’S crackers looked and tasted like Ritz crackers. In 1979, Borden, Inc. (defendant) added a salty, round, corn tortilla chip to its snack-foods line under the name BRAVOS. Borden’s snack-foods group sold its products, including the BRAVOS chips, to independent distributors for resale to supermarkets and grocery stores. To the extent that Vitarroz’s crackers and Borden’s chips were sold in the same retail outlets, they tended to be shelved in different sections, space permitting. Vitarroz also targeted its product to a narrower group of customers who shopped for the Vitarroz brand in specialty shops, many of which did not carry Borden’s chips. Vitarroz sued Borden, seeking injunctive relief for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The district court found that there was no likelihood of confusion and that the balance of the equities tipped in favor of Borden. The court declined to enjoin Borden from using the BRAVOS name and dismissed Vitarroz’s complaint. Vitarroz appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Newman, J.)

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