Hanes Thinks Customers Will Confuse Hummus with Underwear

Hummus company threatened with suit over Hanes name
Wikimedia/Paul Goyette

Hanesbrands has threatened a lawsuit over the name of Canadian hummus maker Hanes Hummus.

Grocery store hummus and convenient packages of underwear do not normally have enough in common to be confused, but Hanesbrands Inc., the makers of Hanes underwear, have threatened to sue a hummus maker anyway. 

According to ABC, Hanesbrands has threatened to sue Canadian hummus brand Hanes Hummus and demanded that they destroy all their products because the Hanes name is close enough to constitute a trademark violation.

"I was shocked," said Hanes Hummus owner Yohannes Petros. "Our logos don't look the same, the spelling and font are different."

Petros' lawyer sent back a snark-laden response, detailing the things he says indicate that there will be no confusion between Hanes Hummus and Hanes underwear.

"I was not aware that HBI [Hanesbrands Inc.] was in the business of manufacturing and selling hummus," he wrote. "In fact, I am confident that HBI is not in the food production business at all, let alone the production of fine and tasty hummus of the type manufactured and sold by Hanes Hummus."

An unaffiliated intellectual property lawyer told ABC that a surname like Hanes can only be protected after acquiring "distinctiveness as a source identifier of a product or service."

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"There is no doubt Hanes has acquired secondary meaning for apparel," he said. "But extending that to food products would be, in my opinion, very hard to prove."