SAN ANTONIO -- Pace Foods Inc. filed suit against Pet Inc.'s Old El Paso Division, claiming Old El Paso's new bottles and labels for its picante sauce too closely resemble the picante sauce packaging used by Pace for 16 years.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in San Antonio claims trademark and trade dress infringment and asks that Old El Paso be ordered not to use the new packaging.
A request for monetary damages did not specify an amount.
'It's causing confusion in the marketplace. (Customers) are picking up their bottles and thinking they are ours. We just want them to stop,' said Lou Rasplicka, a spokesman for San Antonio-based Pace.
The lawsuit said Pet, based in St. Louis, Mo., was preparing to introduce in Texas its brand of the spicy, tomato-based sauce in the new bottle with new labels 'mimicking the Pace label.'
The lawsuit accuses Pet of making the changes to 'pass off its goods as those of Pace.'
The lawsuit said application has been made for trademark registration for the hour-glass shape Pace bottle and that the company 'anticipates the imminent issuance of a federal certificate of registration for its bottle design as a trademark for use in conjunction with picante sauces.'
The Pace lawsuit claims 'infringement of the common law rights of Pace in its bottle design trademark.'