Cookie Giant Fights for Its Packaging

     CHICAGO (CN) – In a battle of cookie giants, Kraft claims in court that Kellogg and its Keebler subsidiary violate patent on “Snack ‘n Seal” technology in packaging for at least five kinds of cookies.
     Kraft Foods sued Kellogg, Keebler and their affiliates, in Federal Court.
     At issue is “a polygonal food container with a wrapper that surrounds a frame, forming the top sides and bottom, and contains discrete cookies.”
     The complaint states: “Defendants make, use, sell and/or offer to sell Keebler Sandies cookies including, but not limited to, Sandies Simply Shortbread cookies, Sandies Pecan Shortbread cookies, Sandies Dark Chocolate Almond cookies, Sandies Cashew Shortbread cookies and Sandies Toffee Shortbread cookies, which are packaged in an SNS [Snack ‘n Seal] container. …
     “Generally, the Keebler Sandies product includes a polygonal food container with a wrapper that surrounds a frame, forming the top sides and bottom, and contains discrete cookies.”
     “The frame of the Keebler Sandies product also defines the polygonal shape of the product container.
     “The top of the Keebler Sandies product has an access opening sufficiently large to provide hand access to substantially all of the cookies contained within the frame such that substantially any one of the cookies can be accessed and removed individually through the access opening.
     “The Keebler Sandies product has a sealing layer that adhesively seals to the top around the opening, which includes a starter portion near the side of the top which can be grasped by a user.
     “The top of the Keebler Sandies product container includes graphics around the opening, and the sealing layer includes graphics which match the graphics on the top.
     “The sealing layer of the Keebler Sandies product is releasable when the starter portion is pulled in a direction away from the side to in turn pull and thereby release at least portion of the sealing layer to provide hand access to the top opening.
     “The sealing layer of Keebler Sandies product is reclosable against the top to seal the opening when the sealing layer is moved back against the top.
     “The Keebler Sandies Product has tamper-evidence structures, among other features.”
     Kraft claims the offending packages violate its patent No, 6,918,532 B2, for a “resealable food container.”
     It seeks an accounting, damages and destruction of the offending cookie packages.
     Kraft’s lead attorney is Jacob D. Koering, with Freeborn & Peters.
     Packaging is tremendously important in the ready-to-eat food business. It is one reason why small, regional food producers have difficulty competing with giants such as Kraft and Kellogg. The welter of regulations on packaging makes it costly and technically difficult to enter the national market.

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