A dispute involving the beloved Cuties-brand of California clementines has escalated into trademark litigation over millions of dollars and who can control the name.
The seedless, high-quality, easy-to-peel fruit is an incredibly-successful product.
California Cutie consists of two varieties of mandarins: Clementine Mandarins and W. Murcott Mandarins. Contrary to popular belief, Cuties are not just “little oranges.”
Berne Evans, the owner of Pasadena, California-based company Sun Pacific, and Stewart Resnick, owner of Delano, California-based Paramount, began collaborating in the late 1990's. They agreed in 1999 to grow, pack, market and sell clementines. They coined the name "CUTIES" for the product they jointly developed in 2001.
In 2004, the two companies harvested the first major crop of Cuties. By 2011-2012, Cuties' volume had grown to 75 million boxes of fruit.
However, Paramount and Sun Pacific now claim each owes the other millions of dollars, and a legal battle involving who has the right to sell Cuties juice has landed the parties in arbitration.
Previously-filed public court documents show that Paramount wants $60 million from Sun Pacific and Sun Pacific wants $18 million from Paramount.
Fortunately for the public, according to the parties, no impact on supply is expected.