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Food brand The Quaker Oats Company has accused a group of Quakers of trademark infringement despite the fact that the group’s business, a Christmas tree farm, is called Quaker Oaks.
The PepsiCo-owned company sent a cease-and-desist letter to Quaker Oaks Christmas Tree Farm, an organisation run by the Orange County Friends Meeting in California.
In the letter, published by the organisation, Quaker Oats accused the group of infringing its trademark for ‘Quaker Oats’, which it has used for “close to 100 years”.
“It was therefore quite a surprise to discover that you are operating a business under the name ‘Quaker Oats Christmas Tree Farm,’” the letter said.
“Your use of our trademark is likely to mislead consumers into believing that your business is associated with the Quaker Oats Company. It is also likely to weaken our very strong trademark,” the letter added.
In a response that was also posted on the group’s website, William Lovett wrote that Quaker Oats had misspelled his organisation’s name in the letter and that the farm was named because religious services were held outdoors under a great oak tree.
He added: “Our business is 100% owned and operated by Quakers. I suspect that your firm employs considerably fewer, if any, Quakers. My guess is that you may be selling far more Lutheran oats, Methodist oats, or maybe atheist oats. Could your company be guilty of product source misrepresentation?”
Lovett continued: “We don’t know why you choose to associate your commercial products with our faith, but we supposed you feel there is some marketing value from it.
“We invite you to visit our farm to verify that we are indeed Quaker Oaks Christmas Tree Farm. If you come in December, we’d be happy to sell you a tree!”
Quaker Oats, PepsiCo, Quakers, trademark, cease-and-desist, Quaker Oaks Christmas Tree Farm