Take center stage

Posted November 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm



A sweet business has turned sour for a local candy provider.

That’s because The Foreign Candy Company, Inc., of Hull has entered a lawsuit against a Connecticut-based candy entity.

This trademark infringement case was filed on Friday, July 30 in Western Pennsylvania District Court, a federal district court based in Pittsburgh. Amy Reynolds Hay will serve as the judge on the matter.

The Foreign Candy Company’s lawsuit is against R.L. Albert & Son, Inc. of Stamford, Conn., and its new product called RIP-ITZ!

Our local candy supplier has sold RIPS and RIP ROLLS since early 2003.

All product lines have various shapes and sizes of sweet-and-sour sugar-coated licorice.

Foreign Candy Company, Inc. president, CEO, owner and founder Peter W. De Yager declined comment with the Sioux County Index-Reporter.

Darla VandeKamp, an executive assistant at Foreign Candy Company, Inc., referred the Index-Reporter to a generic press release.

Several calls and e-mails to attorney Jeff Wettach, representing Foreign Candy Company, Inc., Jeff Donaldson, at the Pittsburgh-based public relations and advertising firm Elias/Savion, Inc., and to R.L. Albert & Son, Inc. were not returned to the Index-Reporter.

“By releasing the ‘RIP-ITZ’ brand, R.L. Albert & Son has willfully, unfairly and unlawfully participated in conduct that results in market dilution and damages the reputation of the Foreign Candy Company,” Wettach said in the press release.

Wettach is a partner at the Cohen & Grigsby law firm based in Pittsburgh. For the past eight years, Wettach has tried many cases concerning intellectual property protection, antitrust law, and patent, trademark, copyright and trade-secret litigation.

“Candy, snack and food trade retailers should be aware that they are dealing with counterfeit goods if t

hey are selling any of the R.L. Albert & Son company’s RIP-ITZ! prodcuts,” Wettach added.

The lawsuit seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive and equitable relief plus compensatory and punitive damages.

The Foreign Candy Company, Inc. is asking the court to provide for the seizure and destruction of all good marketed under the RIP-ITZ! brand — including those in all company and customer warehouses, retail stores and in transit from point to point.

In the same Elias/Savion press release, De Yager said: “My wife (Betsy) and I, along with our dedicated employees, have worked hard for the past 32 years to develop the Foreign Candy Company into a vibrant business that has contributed to the livelihoods of numerous individuals and families.

“As a responsible business owner, I believe the lawsuit is necessary to preserve the reputation of brands in which we have invested both time and money to build within a competitive market,” De Yager added.

The Foreign Candy Company was established in the late-1970s after De Yager, then a Western Christian High School German teacher, visited a gummy bear factory in Germany on a trip with his students.

The company was founded on the principle of helping German clubs across the country raise money for educational programs. The company then expanded to non-profit groups and eventually the wholesale marketplace.

The company still provides fund-raising support for non-profits to this day and has established well-known candy lines including RIPS, EIFFEL, Big Fat Hissee Fit and the Yardstick.