"Spontaneous Combustion," Locally Made Salsa, Suing Crazy Uncle Jester's of Ohio Over Brand Name
Get a rope.
Not only is a company from the Midwest pretending to make salsa, but according to a federal lawsuit filed yesterday, it swiped the name for its swill from an Arizona salsa product: The fiery "Spontaneous Combustion."
The first shot in this Salsa War was fired in 2003, when the Ohio-based Crazy Uncle Jester's Inferno World began using "Spontaneous Combustion" as the name for one of its products, the lawsuit states.
Southwest Specialty Food of Goodyear claims that it trademarked "Spontaneous Combustion" for both salsa and hot sauce back in 1996. The trademark was cancelled two years ago, but Southwest Specialty "never abandoned the mark" and still sells and advertises the line.
We're not sure how many Arizonans love either company's Spontaneous Combustion -- it looks like this stuff is typically sold in southwestern-flavored gift shops.
Whatever the popularity rating, Southwest Specialty Food claims that its "Spontaneous Combustion" brand has been diluted because of public confusion over the brands. Represented by attorney Ray Harris of Fennemore Craig PC, the Goodyear firm wants Crazy Uncle Jester's to cease sales of the offending product immediately and hand over any profits it made from the salsa.
Sure, we're biased from the start in this one, 'cause we don't take kindly to posers from Ohio tryin' to play cowboy.
But to be fair, perhaps a taste test is in order.
May the most explosive sauce win.
UPDATE: June 22, 2011 -- Crazy Uncle Jester wins. The judge dismissed Southwest's case because Jester's "Spontaneous Combustion" wasn't sold in Arizona.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.