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Publisher Sues Over 'Cheesy' Use of Textbook

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Not everyone smiles when they hear the word "cheese."

Miffed at what it says is the unauthorized use of a photograph of its textbook in a "special offer" on a box of macaroni and cheese, a publisher is suing Kraft Inc. for trademark and copyright violations and unfair competition.

The book, Building English Skills: Blue Level, appears in a photograph on the back of Kraft's "Macaroni and Cheese Dinner" next to a box of the food and a plastic pencil case that looks like a box of the food.

The plastic pencil box is selling for $1.50, plus 2 proofs of purchase.

But Joseph F. Littell, executive vice-president and editor-in-chief of McDougal, Littell, and Company of Evanston, Ill., the publisher, is not buying Kraft's use of his company's book.

"They used a photograph of our book on a macaroni and cheese special offer without asking our permission," Mr. Littell asserted. "A very successful book has been allied to what we think is a cheap offer: our authors are not pleased. And we now hear that the offer is appearing on family-size boxes, as well."

The suit, filed in federal court in New York City, asks that Kraft be stopped from using the photograph further and that it deliver for impoundment during the case all boxes of Macaroni and Cheese Dinner bearing the photograph.

It also seeks unspecified damages.

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