Winston-Salem's very own Hanesbrands seems to feel threatened by a tiny Canadian hummus maker and they aren't going to sit back and let those Canuck chickpea smashers get away with riding on their branding coattails:
The difference between underwear and hummus may be as vast as the distance between Hanesbrands' headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C., and the food business that Yohannes Petros built in the city of Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan, Canada, five years ago.
But earlier this month, the gulf was closed, just like the plastic container sealing his hummus products when Petros received a two-page letter from Hanes' legal department.
The letter said Hanesbrands Inc. objects to Petros' use of the mark Hanes Hummus in his application to register the name in the U.S. and Canada. The company required a response by Dec. 16 in its request to "cease and desist from all use of the mark Hanes Hummus" and withdraw its pending trademark applications.
Petros decided to fight back and retained his own attorney who, thankfully, seems to have a sense of humor:
In response, Petros' attorney, Nathan Dooley, wrote a three-page letter to Hanesbrands with 36 pages of supporting case law saying he disagrees with Hanesbrands' conclusion that consumers will confuse the hummus maker with the apparel brand.
"I was not aware that HBI [Hanesbrands Inc.] was in the business of manufacturing and selling hummus. In fact, I am confident that HBI is not in the food production business at all, let alone the production of fine and tasty hummus of the type manufactured and sold by Hanes Hummus," Dooley writes.
"I was not aware that HBI's T-shirts were edible, made with chick peas, lemon or garlic," Dooley adds…
Dooley holds back no punches, writing to Hanes, "It is safe to assume that you have done no research whatsoever" and "If you had done that research, you would not have sent the letter because, in reality, no rational person who is familiar with Hanes Hummus could possibly allege any confusion between Hanes Hummus and HBI's Mark or HBI's product."
I pity the HBI PR person who caught this one.