Sprouts Natural Market, Temecula, Calif., last week won a preliminary injunction forbidding the use of the Sprouts name in Riverside County by Sprouts Farmers Market, a Phoenix-based chain of natural foods stores, according to an article in the North County Times.
The Temecula Sprouts argues that the name confusion hurts it more than the Phoenix Sprouts, since Temecula Sprouts is one small store as opposed to the larger Sprouts Farmers Market chain. In addition, two of the competing Sprouts Farmers Market stores are located within 1 1/2 miles of the Temecula Sprouts.
According to the decision, the court found the evidence of customer confusion and the risk of being put out of business sufficient to demonstrate “irreparable harm.” However, the Temecula Sprouts failed to get the injunction extended to San Diego County. The decision stated that customers in San Diego wouldn't be as confused by the dueling names as they would in Riverside County.
The Temecula Sprouts dates back to 1989, when it was founded as Health Zone Natural Foods LLC. The company changed its name to Sprouts Natural Market in 2001.
The conflict started last year, when the Sprouts Farmers Market chain began re-branding Henry's grocery stores in the region as Sprouts after the Henry's chain merged with Sprouts Farmers Market.