Should Snaks 5th Avenchew be upset about legal complaint?

Snaks 5th Avenchew is a “gourmet” pet treat company that you’ll often see set up over at Pier 13 uptown. As you can immediately tell, the name, spelling (or purposeful misspelling), logo and sound – is almost exactly like the legendary upscale retail store Saks Fifth Avenue.

Snaks Fifth Avenchew Hoboken NJ

Lawyer: “Snaks” too similar to “Saks”

Snaks 5th Avenchew owner Carrie Sarabella was shocked and upset that the legal team representing Saks Fifth Avenue recently served her with a concise letter ordering her to cease and desist using that name, citing variations of trademark law, etc. Will spare you the details, as similar cases have been tried in the past all with the exact same reasoning – that it is “confusing” and “brand diluting,” and can cause harm. But she apparently has till tomorrow, August 13th to comply.

Whether it’s valid or not – there are laws “on the books” that are in place to eliminate such “confusion.” I mean I’m smart enough to see the differences, and would never be confused, nor do I doubt any of you would be either. But “law is law” so they say – and now this small business has the corresponding headache to deal with.

As pet owners will know, there are other dog related products out there that are a play on words for famous, established terms, like: “Chewy Vuiton,” “Sniffany & Co.,” “Bloomingtails,” etc. In fact, Louis Vuitton sued the Haute Diggity Dog company for their “Chewy” version – and lost – twice. So there are precedents out there.

Snaks 5th Avenchew too similar to Saks Fifth Avenue

Our verdict: Change the name and establish yourself the right way

Of course we don’t have any issues with an entrepreneur wanting to start a dog treat business. But it is our opinion that Ms. Sarabella should absolutely change the name of her company. To “glom” off an already established and known name is a lame way to build a customer base. (Just in the way that Maxwell’s kept the name and logo hoping that the “legend” translated into more revenue for them).

And while we’re at it, “gourmet” treats for dogs always struck me as weird. Because they’re not marketing to DOGS (the end customer of said food products), they’re marketing to the sick, perverted mind of human beings (who finance said products). Dogs are thrilled to eat ANYTHING. Up to and including garbage and road-kill. Yes, we want our pets to be healthy and feed them quality food, we’re just not taken in by the “upscale” market that much (priorities, you know). Although, if money were no object, I’d hire a chef to cook for my dogs – but we’re not so fortunate.

But if the products sold at “Snaks 5th Avenchew” are any good – they should be able to succeed in this highly competitive market without the “clever” name. I mean it’s not a contest to see how cute or whimsical your business name is. In the end it boils down to: Do the treats have value to the customer. Is it a fair trade?

Do you think that trying to mimic an established brand is okay? “No harm, no foul?”