Frito-Lay Loses Food Fight Over IP Infringement

Frito-Lay’s “Tostitos Scoops” tortilla chips may be one of the most convenient ways to eat salsa, but a Texas jury recently found that similarly shaped chips do not infringe the snack company’s patent.

The lawsuit alleged that Medallion Foods Inc., which sells Bowlz chips, violated Frito-Lay’s trade dress and patent rights. Frito-Lay holds a 2003 patent on the process used to make the bowl-shaped tortilla chips. It also holds trade dress rights in the Scoops design and its packaging, the former of which is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“Frito-Lay has invested significantly in this product and it has enjoyed widespread consumer acceptance and success,” Frito-Lay said in its complaint. “[I]nfringement of Frito-Lay’s intellectual property rights harms Frito-Lay as well as Frito-Lay customers who many be confused and deceived…”

To bolster its claims, Frito-Lay provided color photographs of the two chips, both with scalloped ages. It also noted similarities between the packaging, which are both blue, with black writing on a geometric background, and a square, clear panel in the center.

However, the jury was not convinced that customers would be confused about the source of the product. It found that Medallion did not dilute or infringe Frito-Lay’s trade dress rights or infringe Frito-Lay’s patent on the process for making the chips.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s