Last month, snack food company Snyder’s-Lance filed a declaratory judgment action in North Carolina against Amplify Snack Brands and its SkinnyPop popcorn. Hours later, Amplify brought suit against Snyders-Lance in Texas, alleging trademark infringement over Snyders’ “Metcalf’s Skinny” popcorn and other snacks sold under the “Metcalf’s Skinny” brand name. At issue is whether the term “Skinny” is descriptive, and thus fair game for snack foods, like Snyders and others to use to describe their “better-for-you” snack foods. The parties are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, treble damages, and attorneys fees.

Takeaway: Advertisers who wish to use the term “skinny” to describe food products should take care to ensure that no confusion exists with existing “skinny” products.