McCormick wins settlement

The Baltimore Sun

A McCormick & Co. Inc. supplier accused of producing knockoffs of the spice maker's popular spice grinders has agreed to alter the shape of its product as part of a lawsuit settlement.

Other details of the agreement between McCormick and Weatherchem, a manufacturer and marketer of plastic dispensing closures based in Twinsburg, Ohio, were not released. No one returned calls from Weatherchem or McCormick late yesterday.

Weatherchem, which disclosed the settlement in a statement yesterday, has 90 days to sell all remaining inventory of the original bottle.

McCormick's pre-filled spice and seasoning grinders account for less than 1 percent of the company's $2.7 billion in annual revenue, but the Sparks spice maker has sold enough of them in four years to put one in more than half of American households.

So when McCormick learned that Weatherchem was producing a grinder that had what it called the "same packaging shape" and the "same non-refillable package format" as its product, it filed a trademark infringement suit in federal court in Baltimore.

Weatherchem initially rebuffed the company's request to stop producing the knockoff grinders, according to the lawsuit.

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