A Houston salsa maker is being sued for trademark infringement for allegedly using a product name that already belongs to another salsa company.
Salajo LLC filed a lawsuit Aug. 8 against Salinas Salsa Co. in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas.
Salajo began its business in March 2013, according to the complaint, and purchased online domain name "salinassalsacompany.com."
The salsa maker says it also purchased the domain "salinassalsaworks.com" and created a Salinas Salsa Works Facebook page in April 2013, making its first sale of salsa under the Salinas Salsa Works label in May 2013.
According to Salajo, Salinas Salsa Co. was formed in April 2013, and started a Salinas Salsa Co. Facebook page the same day. By May 2013 the defendant allegedly posted pictures of empty salsa jars with labels on its Facebook page and by July 2013, was still promising that salsa was on its way.
Shortly thereafter, Salajo alleges, Salinas Salsa Co. advertised it was "the original" Salinas Salsa, despite allegedly creating its product after the plaintiff. The lawsuit also alleges Salinas Salsa Co. falsely claimed it has used the name Salinas Salsa since January 2011 when it filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and that it first used the name on its product with its first sale in April 2013.
Salajo says it has tried to resolve the issue of the name similarity but alleges Salinas Salsa Co. has refused to negotiate. Salajo also alleges the defendant's use of the name is confusing to consumers, causing the company to lose money.
In addition to trademark infringement, a violation of the federal Lanham Act, Salinas is also accused of false advertising. Salajo asks to be awarded superior rights to Salinas Salsa, an injunction against further violations of the Lanham Act, damages for lost profits and court costs.
Attorney Keith Jaasma, of Houston, represents Salajo. They request a jury trial.
The case number is Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case 4:14-cv-02331.
This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt and it represents only one side of the story.