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Wegmans to drop script 'W' logo

The battle between Wegmans and Walgreen Co. over the 23rd letter in the alphabet is over.

Wegmans has agreed to stop using a script letter W as a logo on its products to settle a lawsuit Walgreens brought last year against the Rochester-based supermarket chain.

The drugstore chain had argued that Wegmans' use of the logo infringed on the trademark for its own "Flying W" logo and could confuse consumers.

Wegmans will stop using its Circle W logo by June 30, 2012, but retains the right to use the full name "Wegmans" written in the same script, the chain announced.

"The cost of making relatively minor changes to a limited number of products was much less than the cost of litigating this case to the end," said Jo Natale, Wegmans director of media relations. "We wanted to return to a logo we had used many decades ago. There was never any intent on our part to make our products or logos resemble those of Walgreens."

Wegmans spokeswoman Ann McCarthy declined to comment further. Walgreens representatives did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking reaction.

The settlement between Wegmans and Walgreens was reached March 3 but not revealed until Friday, when the supermarket chain posted a statement on its website.

In a lawsuit filed last October in federal court in Virginia, Walgreens said it has used the "Flying W" logo on its more than 7,500 stores since 1951, and claimed that Wegmans started using a similar scripted W on its stores only in late 2008.

Wegmans denied it copied the logo from Walgreens and contended its scripted W revived a logo the supermarket chain used in the 1930s and '40s.

Walgreens said in its court papers that consumers may be confused into thinking there was a connection between the companies.

The drugstore chain had asked the court to uphold its trademarks and order all Wegmans signs, labels and promotional materials using the scripted W destroyed.

Walgreens also sought an accounting of how much of the supermarket chain's profits derived from the use of the scripted W logo, and asked that damages in the case be tripled.

Wegmans did not admit liability as part of the lawsuit settlement, according to the company statement.

e-mail: swatson@buffnews.com