Popcorn battle over 'Chicago Mix' name won by Minnesotans

- More than two decades ago, Brenda Lamb, co-owner of Twin Cities-based "Candyland," had an idea: display together the often requested mix of plain, cheddar, and caramel popcorn. Sales took off, and she named the mix after her favorite city, Chicago.

And thus, “Chicago Mix,” the name for the salty and sweet mix, was born. In 1992, Lamb trademarked the name. Over the years, dozens of businesses stopped calling their mixes “Chicago Mix” after receiving letters.

“We would send them out a friendly letter, and they would remove it. And there was no problem,.” Lamb told Fox 9.

But three big companies refused to stop calling the mixes “Chicago Mix”: Garrett Popcorn Shops, Snyder’s-Lance, and Cornfields, Inc. The companies argued the name had become a generic name for the mix. So Lamb got David Davenport, an attorney at Winthrop an Weinstine, to take action.

“Ultimately, what this boiled down to was Brenda was very principled, she had a purpose and she stuck to that,” Davenport said.

After fighting the trademark dispute in federal court for about two years, the final holdout of the three companies agreed to stop using the name “Chicago Mix” or anything confusingly similar.

“I mean it was a hallelujah,” Lamb told Fox 9.

Video report with more details will air on FOX 9 at 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday.


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