Who's the real 'backyard bratwurst'? WI sausage companies settle lawsuit


A couple of Wisconsin sausage companies, battling over the use of the term "backyard brat," reached a settlement.

Klement Sausage Co. has held a trademark on the term "backyard bratwurst" since 2009, and had been using it with their product since the year before, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The Johnsonville sausage brand later used "Backyard Grilled Brat" in its marketing and packaging – which Klement argued was infringing on their trademark.

Klement filed a suit in July, and by September Johnsonville had begun voluntarily phasing out its use of the term, Law360 wrote. In fact, Johnsonville said they planned to stop using it after they got a cease and desist from Klement way back in May – but couldn't get rid of packaging that had been shipped out to third-party retailers who bought the brats, the site says.

Either way, it's officially over now.

FOX 11 News reports the sides settled the lawsuit Tuesday – it means Johnsonville is barred from using the term "backyard brat" (and a few similar ones), and the company has destroyed all labels and signs and packing materials that used it.

Klement's Sausage started back in 1956, when the Klement brothers purchased a sausage company on Milwaukee's south side, the website says. It's now the city's largest producer of "fine, old fashion sausage products," the company says, and serves product at Miller Park (home of the Milwaukee Brewers, where it also sponsors the famous Racing Sausages).


Johnsonville is based in Sheboygan, and dates back to the 1940s when Ralph F. and Alice Stayer opened a butcher shop and named it after their hometown of Johnsonville, Wisconsin. The company says it's now the No. 1 brand of sausage in the world.

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