Old Bay vs New Bae: McCormick settles trademark lawsuit against rival spice company

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Old Bay parent company McCormick & Co. has settled a federal lawsuit against a Pittsburgh-based spice company that produced a seasoning called New Bae.

McCormick filed the suit in late 2018, claiming trademark infringement against organic spice company Primal Palate. The Hunt Valley-based company argued in court records that New Bae was intended to create a wrongful association with Old Bay and to diminish its reputation.


The suit demanded that all profits from New Bae sales be paid to McCormick and that any products, merchandise or records bearing the name New Bae be destroyed.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit Tuesday after the parties informed the court that a private settlement agreement was reached.


Representatives of McCormick declined to comment on the terms of the settlement. Primal Palate did not respond to a request for comment. New Bae was still available for purchase on the Primal Palate website Wednesday morning.

McCormick has owned the rights to Old Bay since it purchased the beloved Baltimore brand in 1990.

Shortly after McCormick filed its lawsuit, Primal Palate posted a statement on its Instagram account saying it would fight the suit and asked followers to “save New Bae.”

“Our blend is of course a nod to Old Bay, since we are always striving to offer organic, healthy options for our audiences, and provide full transparency with ingredients,” the post said. “We do not see any merit to their claims, as we feel like it’s far from likely to confuse customers, and our blends are also very very different. In fact, the way we named it was meant to differentiate it, not to mention we don’t even know what the ingredients are in Old Bay.”

Primal Palate representatives filed an application in November 2017 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register New Bae as a trademarked organic spice.

McCormick filed an opposition to the application, but later asked the office to suspend proceedings pending the final decision in the lawsuit. The company’s motion to suspend was granted Wednesday, according to trademark office records.