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Bimbo Bakeries USA, et al. v. Sycamore, et al.

These consolidated appeals concern claims of unfair competition in the bread industry. Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. (“Bimbo Bakeries”) owns, bakes, and sells Grandma Sycamore’s Home-Maid Bread (“Grandma Sycamore’s”). Bimbo Bakeries alleges that United States Bakery (“U.S. Bakery”), a competitor, and Leland Sycamore (“Leland”), the baker who developed the Grandma Sycamore’s recipe, misappropriated its trade secret for making Grandma Sycamore’s. Bimbo Bakeries when it sold a comparable bread product, Grandma Emilie’s, and engaged in false advertising when it used the tagline “Fresh. Local. Quality.” The district court granted summary judgment in favor of U.S. Bakery on the trade dress infringement claim. The parties went to trial on the other two claims, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of Bimbo Bakeries on both. After the trial, the district court denied U.S. Bakery’s and Leland’s renewed motions for judgment as a matter of law on the trade secrets misappropriation and false advertising claims. The district court did, however, remit the jury’s damages award.

Bimbo Bakeries, U.S. Bakery, and Leland all appeal. Bimbo Bakeries argues the district court should not have granted U.S. Bakery summary judgment on its trade dress infringement claim and should not have remitted damages for the false advertising claim. U.S. Bakery and Leland argue the district court should have granted their renewed motions for judgment as a matter of law, and Leland makes additional arguments related to his personal liability. Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion because all Bimbo Bakeries’ claims fail as a matter of law.

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