Henri's Foods prevailed over Kraft ("Whipped!" February), at no insubstantial cost in dollars, as well as in lost management time.
The company is to be commended for its success in the battle. But commendation may not be all that is due. Once it was judicially settled that Kraft could not dominate the use of the word "whip" in such composite trademarks as "Yogowhip," it would seem to have been settled that all the other companies with "whip" trademarks are likewise in the clear. Which of these other beneficiaries have or will come forward and give Henri's a hand up along the comeback trail?
The author replies: Mr. Swanson's list is a splendid addendum to Mr. Krueger's. I would draw special attention to two of his rules.
One, although "corporate suicide" is a legitimate worry, it must be balanced against the demoralizing effects of easy capitulation, which can be another form of untimely death on the corporate battlefield.
Two, it helps if your attorney's and your company's mutual interests go beyond retainer payments. William E. Glassner Jr., Henri's main counsel, was well qualified to direct the litigation and handsomely paid for his efforts; being a company director, however, he also had more than an academic interest in the suit's outcome. While not always a labor of love, his fight on Henri's behalf was an act of passion and tenacity. In this case, anyway, passion and tenacity beat some long and highly unfavorable odds.
"Lethargic" is not how I would describe my characterization of Henri's during the time of the lawsuit; perhaps the better term would be "distracted." There is no doubt in my mind that Henri's was and is a resourceful, innovative manufacturing company; such innovation surely did not cease during the long period of litigation. Still, I heard from many others connected to Henri's that the cost of fighting Kraft, fiscal and otherwise, had a retarding effect on many areas of the operation. That was my larger point. Indeed, mention of the Fuji machine was there merely to illustrate that flair for getting things done. At the time, Mr. Bayless told me that his team had, in fact, experienced some difficulties with then machine and had modified it accordingly -- a resourceful act if ever there was one.
Joseph P. Kahn