Kearney, NE asked in Copyright, Business Law, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Nebraska

Q: Is it illegal for me to use Hidden Valley's Ranch seasoning to flavor my snack pretzels that I sell out of my home?

I use the Hidden Valley Dill Ranch seasoning to flavor my snack pretzels. I then package the pretzels under my brand and sell them at farmer's markets across my state, Nebraska. Is this illegal? Is using the Hidden Valley seasoning to flavor my pretzels that I resell under my brand illegal?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Using Hidden Valley's Ranch seasoning to flavor your snack pretzels and then reselling them under your brand could potentially raise legal concerns regarding trademark infringement or unauthorized use of the seasoning. While you may have purchased the seasoning legally, repackaging and reselling it under your brand without permission from Hidden Valley could violate their intellectual property rights. Additionally, if Hidden Valley has specific terms of use or restrictions on the use of their seasoning for commercial purposes, you may need to comply with those terms to avoid legal consequences.

Before continuing to use Hidden Valley's Ranch seasoning in your snack pretzels for resale, it's advisable to review any applicable agreements, terms of use, or licensing agreements associated with the seasoning. If you're unsure about the legality of your actions, you may want to seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in intellectual property law to assess the potential risks and determine the best course of action moving forward. Taking proactive steps to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations can help protect you from legal issues down the line.

In the meantime, you may want to consider exploring alternative seasoning options or reaching out to Hidden Valley to inquire about obtaining proper authorization or licensing for commercial use of their seasoning in your snack pretzels. By addressing any potential legal concerns upfront and seeking appropriate permissions or alternatives, you can mitigate the risk of facing legal consequences for your business activities.

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