NEW ORLEANS - The jury has spoken. The great New Orleans snowball wars are finally over.
After lawsuits and counter-lawsuits stretching back three decades, a federal jury Thursday settled a string of disputes over trademarks and patents that embroiled several syrup makers, ice-shaving machine manufacturers and snowball stands.
In the end, the big winner was Sno-Wizard, which was awarded $102,000 from competitor Southern Snow Manufacturing Co. for willful patent infringement on its proprietary ice-shaving equipment.
Sno-Wizard, a 77-year-old New Orleans company with headquarters on River Road, also won trademark claims over its flavors Cajun Red Hot, Mountain Maple, White Chocolate and Chips and its sugar-free offering, Sno Sweet.
Total damages for trademark infringement on the flavors was $1,300.
The lone victory for the plaintiffs was by Plum Street Snowballs, which was awarded $5,000 for trademark infringement of its signature flavor Orchid Vanilla Cream.
About 200 other claims against SnoWizard were dismissed by the jury or, earlier, by U.S. District Judge Nanette Jolivette-Brown, who presided over the case.
The most significant dismissals by the jury were claims by Southern Snow and Simeon, Inc. over the name “Snoball.”
The jury found that the claims over the generic name for the New Orleans’ favorite summertime treat “were groundless, brought in bad faith and were brought to harass SnoWizard,” according to SnoWizard attorneys Brad Harrigan, Jack Morris and Ken Tolar.
An eight-person jury deliberated for about 12 hours over two days following a week-long civil trial.