Sweet Pete’s settles for $2m in trademark suit with Sugarfina

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sugarfina developed a concept hyper-focused on adult consumers, replete with boozy candies. Pic: Getty Images / Matthew Eisman
Sugarfina developed a concept hyper-focused on adult consumers, replete with boozy candies. Pic: Getty Images / Matthew Eisman

Related tags: Lawsuit, Trademark, Packaging, branding, Retailers, Candy, ecommerce

Florida candy store Sweet Pete’s agreed last week to shell out $2m to Sugarfina in a trademark lawsuit filed by the California-based chain in 2017.

Sugarfina, a ‘sophisticated’ candy store where adults can indulge in portioned sweet treats from around the world, claimed Sweet Pete’s knowingly copied packaging design and product names, some of which are protected by trademark.

Co-founder and CEO Rosie O'Neill of Sugarfina told ConfectioneryNews that the company could not comment on the settlement.

In particular, the original court complaint​ describes Sugarfina’s patent on a 3x3 ‘bento box’ of clear cubes.

“Among the signature innovations of Sugarfina’s branding is its presentation of candy in museum-quality Lucite that emphasizes the artisanal and rarified quality of a gourmet small-portion tasting experience,”​ the suit alleged.

“Each of Sweet Pete’s line of accused products embodies a combination of several elements of the Sugarfina Product Trade Dress identified above, namely, a product configuration with a total image and overall appearance that is unique, including features such as size, shape, color or color combinations, texture, graphics, and sales techniques.”

The suit also references a breach of trademarked names to describe similar products. For instance, both shops sell a cola-flavored gummy, but Sugarfina claims to own the trademark to the name both use – ‘Cuba Libre.’

Sweet Pete’s was the star of an April 2014 episode of CNBC’s entrepreneur show The Profit, and is now majority-owned by celebrity host Marcus Lemonis. It now operates one ‘interactive’ store in Jacksonville, Florida, and produces many of the confections sold there. Online ordering has helped the business grow​, according to a follow-up interview on CNBC, as well as a larger, three-floor space in a more visible location.

Sugarfina started as a single store in Beverly Hills in 2012, but the brand now runs nearly 30 retail stores​ plus ‘shop-in-shops’ at more than a dozen Nordstrom locations.

Both companies were founded by couples.

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