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Primal Palate says consumers won’t mix up Old Bay and New Bae

Primal Palate's "New Bae Seasoning." (Submitted photo)

Primal Palate’s “New Bae Seasoning.” (Submitted photo)

Primal Palate, creator of the New Bae seasoning that has prompted Hunt Valley-based McCormick & Co. to sue for trademark infringement, says its product is a “nod” to Old Bay but is unlikely to confuse consumers.

“The name ‘New Bae’ is unlike ‘Old Bay’ in some obvious ways.  Indeed, far from likely to confuse customers, the naming is designed to suggest a difference between Primal Palate Organic Spices and Old Bay,” said Primal Palate co-founder Bill Staley in an emailed statement.

Staley goes on to say that the name was giving a “nod” to Old Bay but that Primal Palate thinks consumers benefit “from healthy competition between different products.” Primal Palate give a similar response to a cease-and-desist McCormick sent the company in April, according to the lawsuit.

“We do not see legal merit to the claims that McCormick has made. Primal Palate understands and respects McCormick’s desire to police its trademarks. However, in this instance, there is nothing actionable to police,” Staley said.

McCormick alleges Pittsburgh-based Primal Palate’s seasoning blend “New Bae” infringes on its trademark for the company’s signature spice.

The company alleges Primal Palate has been using marketing taglines such as “out with the Old, and in with the NEW” to “capitalize on the fame and goodwill of McCormick’s OLD BAY Mark,” according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Monday.

McCormick commented publicly on the lawsuit on Wednesday, saying that the company intends to protect the trademark and avoid confusion with other brands.

“Old Bay is one of the most cherished brands in the McCormick portfolio and we intend to defend it,” a McCormick spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

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