On Wednesday, Bowerman Blueberries, Ltd. and Bowerman Blueberries Farm Market, LLC. filed a complaint in the Western District of Michigan against Green Acre Farm Market, Inc. and Kelly Bowerman after Kelly Bowerman allegedly joined Green Acre and continued to use the plaintiff’s trademarks and logos without their consent.
Bowerman Blueberries is a third generation family-owned blueberry farm famous for their baked goods and their blueberry donuts, the complaint said. The defendant, Kelly Bowerman, was a fractional owner until he sold his interests and left the company in 2016, after attempting to buy it. He then became the owner of Green Acre Farm Market and currently “maintains control over the daily operations” and “is responsible for making decisions about Green Acres’ products and advertising.”
In April 2020, Green Acre allegedly started to sell blueberry products including “‘famous’ Bowerman blueberry donuts,” as well as other products that the plaintiffs said they were well known for. The plaintiffs claimed that this was a deliberate attempt to confuse customers and that “Kelly Bowerman’s business model for Green Acres has been and continues to be based on copying the products and business of Plaintiffs” to appropriate the goodwill and popularity of his last name.
As a result, the plaintiffs estimated that Kelly Bowerman has made “hundreds of thousands of dollars” upon using his family name to sell his products. Because of the confusing similarities between these products, even the plaintiffs’ vendors and bank have “struggled to distinguish between Plaintiffs and Green Acres” and customers have been calling the plaintiffs to complain about the defendants’ products. As a result, the plaintiffs are suing for federal trademark infringement, unfair competition, a violation of the Lanham Act, as well as common law trademark infringement for both Green Acre and for Kelly Bowerman.
The plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction enjoining the defendants from using the Bowerman name and infringing upon their trademarks, damages, enhanced damages, pre-judgment interest, ordering the defendants to “publish for a period of six months on a website and in print media a statement correcting the confusion as to the unlawful use of the mark and the origination of ‘Bowerman’s Famous Blueberry Donuts’ and/or ‘Bowerman Blueberries,’” and other relief.