'Sometimes the little guy can win,' Saskatoon hummus maker wins battle with Hanes

A Saskatoon entrepreneur has won a long court battle over its name with Hanes underwear company.

Hanes underwear said hummus name could confuse consumers

Yohannes Petros is claiming victory after a court battle with Hanes underwear. (CBC)

A Saskatoon entrepreneur has won a lengthy court battle over sharing his products' name with underwear company Hanes.

This is validation that I've been on the right path.- Yohannes   Petros

"This is validation that I've been on the right path," the hummus maker said. "Sometimes the little guy can win."

Yohannes Petros registered his company name Hanes Hummus over two years ago. Not long after, Hanesbrand Incorporated sent him a cease and desist letter stating that the name of his hummus was too close to the Hanes underwear brand and could confuse consumers.

"Their claim was that customers would be confused over the two names.The public has spoken loudly that you would never be confused about going into a store and purchasing underwear over hummus," said Yohannes Petros. 

This week, Petros said, he received some good news from his lawyer that Hanes Branding had backed down from its previous claims.
Hanes Hummus and Hanesbrands Inc. products (CBC)

"Hanes Hummus and Hanes Branding Incorporated have reached a mutually agreeable settlement. Neither party has any objection to the continued use of the other party's trade dress, trade names or packaging," Petros said.

Petros footed a hefty bill to defend his product's name. 

"It's been two years. For them it's ultimately a game of attrition, where they can grind you out because they've got the money and resources but I didn't go away."

What's in a name?

Because his first name is Yohannes, Petros said his nickname has been "Hanes" for years, which is what led him to use it for the name of his business. 

"Although the spelling is the same, it's not like I'm calling my company, you know, Hanes and then in small letters, "hummus," he said. "It's 'Hanes Hummus'. That's what it's being branded as, right? So that's how the name came about. It stems from my name."

He said customers have never joked about his hummus being associated with T-shirts or underwear.