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A suit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Boston alleges that Whole Foods violated Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover's copyright violation by using "The Real Deal" in marketing efforts three weeks after the Ahold banners adopted the same slogan, according to published reports.
The Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover Real Deal ad campaign highlights ways that consumers can save money in the face of rising gas, food, and other commodity prices.
Whole Foods then began using the identical slogan as the name of a national program featuring such components as a quarterly "value guide" offering meal plans and advice on how to save money while eating a healthier diet, shopping tours, and a "Real Steal" customer tips page on its Web site, as well as in-store "Real Steal" signs drawing attention to budget-priced items.
Stop & Shop maintains that Whole Foods' use of both "The Real Deal" and "Real Steal" is "likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake and to deceive consumers," in the words of the lawsuit.
The grocer wants the court to order Austin-based Whole Foods to scupper its campaign.
"We have been contacted by Stop & Shop and are currently reviewing possible next steps," said Whole Foods spokeswoman Robin Rehfield, as quoted in the Boston Globe.