Mars sues Simmons over dog food label similarities

Mars believes that Simmons infringed on Pedigree’s trade dress by using the same label colors and design elements.

Tim Wall Headshot Small Headshot
(NiroDesign |
(NiroDesign |

Mars Petcare filed a lawsuit alleging that Simmons Pet Food’s Signature brands copied the packaging of Pedigree dog food, which Mars stated is the best-selling brand by revenues in the United States in 2020. In the lawsuit over pet food packaging, Mars believes that Simmons infringed on Pedigree’s trade dress by using the same label colors and design elements on cans of Signature dog food.

“Rather than invest the time, money and resources to create its own distinctive trade dress, Defendant simply helped itself to Mars’s famous trade dress,” Mars’ lawyers wrote in court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Mars claimed that consumers could confuse one brand for the other or believe a connection existed between the two products. Mars’ lawyers pointed to Signature’s predominantly yellow background with a white circular halo in the middle of the label, which Pedigree also features. Signature features an open-mouthed dog’s head with it tongue sticking out, adjacent to the right of the circular halo, like Pedigree. Also, a round, yellow bowl filled with dog food on the bottom of the label positioned to the left of the dog’s head and touching the dog’s neck appears one both Pedigree and Signature labels. Additionally, Signature’s packaging color schemes vary by variety, using the same colors as the Pedigree varieties. For example, Mars’ Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy Chicken and Rice Flavor packaging uses light blue highlights, as does Simmon’s Signature Gravy Cuts Adult Dog Food Chop Cuts with Chicken and Rice in Sauce.

About Mars Petcare and Simmons Pet Food

According to Petfood Industry’s Top Pet Food Companies Current Data, Mars Petcare is the world's leading pet food company. Its nearly 50 pet food brands include five billion-dollar brands. The company is increasingly looking to diversify its revenue streams. Mars Petcare also owns the BluePearl chain of emergency and specialty veterinary care clinics and Banfield animal hospitals. Mars Petcare’s annual revenue in 2019 was US$18,085,000,000.

Simmons Pet Food is a North American private-label and contract manufacturer of wet and dry pet food and meaty treats. The company produces both premium and value-focused offerings, supplying top brands and retailers with products in a variety of formats, including cans, pouches, cups and tub. Simmons is a family owned company in business for 70 years and is headquartered in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, USA. Simmons Pet Food operates three wet pet food production facilities, a dry pet food facility and a meaty treats production facility. These operations are located in the United States, including northwest Arkansas, Kansas and New Jersey, and in Ontario, Canada. Simmons Pet Food is owned by Simmons Foods, Inc. & Affiliates. Simmons’ annual revenue in 2019 was US$700,000,000.

Page 1 of 59
Next Page