In a legal battle over the iconic “Farm Show Milkshakes” name, the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association has filed a lawsuit against RC Herr, LLC, a Cumberland County-based company. The nonprofit organization alleges that RC Herr is capitalizing on the Dairymen’s reputation and misusing their famed shake name.
The case, currently in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, claims that RC Herr deliberately aimed to confuse consumers by using the Dairymen’s name and marketing strategies. While RC Herr denies the allegations and vows to defend its rights, the Dairymen’s Association seeks legal recourse to protect its brand and prevent further consumer confusion.
A Legacy of Milkshakes at the Pennsylvania Farm Show
For over seven decades, the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association has been selling its famous vanilla, chocolate, and choco-nilla milkshakes at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. This annual event draws approximately half a million visitors each year who flock to witness live calf births, admire butter sculptures, and enjoy various agricultural attractions. The proceeds from these frozen delights contribute to funding crucial initiatives such as agricultural education, scholarships, a dairy cow birthing center, and statewide milk distribution.
The Historical Association with the ‘Farm Show Milkshakes’ Name
The lawsuit highlights the historical and colloquial association of the Dairymen’s vanilla, chocolate, and choco-nilla milkshakes with the name “Farm Show Milkshakes.” After being known by this name for 70 years, the Dairymen’s Association asserts that RC Herr knowingly filed a federal trademark application for the logo “Farm Show Milkshakes” in 2018, despite being aware of the Dairymen’s prior interest in the name. Although the complaint does not reveal the reasons behind the initial partnership or subsequent termination, court records indicate a souring of the relationship between the two parties.
The Alleged Acts of Misleading Marketing
According to the complaint, even after the termination of their agreement, RC Herr continued marketing their products as “Authentic Farm Show Milkshakes.” The lawsuit argues that RC Herr intentionally associated itself with the Dairymen’s desserts and misled consumers by altering photos on social media, replacing the Dairymen’s logo with their own. The complaint also accuses RC Herr of using the Dairymen’s Association name in website metatag information to redirect consumers searching for the Dairymen’s product to their own website. These actions, the lawsuit claims, created an association that intentionally misled consumers and damaged the reputation of the Dairymen’s brand.
The Milkshake Battle Extends to the Community
The legal dispute between the Dairymen’s Association and RC Herr also had implications beyond the two entities. The lawsuit alleges that RC Herr’s claim of exclusive rights to the “Farm Show Milkshakes” name led to the termination of the Dairymen’s Association food truck contract with a school district. Furthermore, the complaint asserts that during a recent event at Fort Hunter Park, RC Herr failed to intervene when an event sponsor displayed a sign pointing to the Herr tent with the text “Pa Dairymen’s Association Milkshakes.” These instances contributed to further confusion among consumers and amplified the need for the Dairymen’s Association to take legal action.
Protecting the Farm Show Milkshakes Brand
The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association seeks legal intervention to address the issues arising from RC Herr’s alleged misuse of its brand name. The lawsuit calls for a court order to prevent anyone affiliated with RC Herr from implying any connection to the Dairymen’s Association and using packaging or marketing materials that could cause confusion in the marketplace. Additionally, the Dairymen’s Association seeks damages for the harm caused to its reputation.
Moving Forward with the Legal Process
The Dairymen’s Association remains committed to protecting its brand and the integrity of the Farm Show Milkshakes. With the federal lawsuit, they aim to resolve this matter through the judicial process. The association’s attorney, Michael Winfield, expressed their pride in the long-standing association with the Pennsylvania Farm Show and the public’s love and recognition of the “Farm Show Milkshakes.” The resolution of this legal dispute will determine the future of the cherished milkshake brand and ensure clarity for consumers in the marketplace.
The legal battle between the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association and RC Herr, LLC, has drawn attention to the misuse of the “Farm Show Milkshakes” name. The Dairymen’s Association, with its rich history of selling milkshakes at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, asserts that RC Herr deliberately misled consumers and capitalized on the Dairymen’s reputation. This lawsuit emphasizes the importance of protecting brand integrity and preventing consumer confusion in the marketplace. As the legal process unfolds, stakeholders eagerly await the resolution of this contentious case and its impact on the future of the iconic Farm Show Milkshakes.