Tag Archives trademark

Darden Concepts, Inc. has filed a trademark infringement action against a TGI Friday’s franchisee located in San Diego, California, alleging that its use of “Never Ending Shrimp” to promote one of its menu offerings infringes the “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” mark that Darden has registered and used in its Olive Garden restaurants for 15 years. Darden Concepts, Inc. v. Briad Restaurant Group, L.L.C., No. 10-2077 (S.D. Cal., filed October 6, 2010). Darden alleges that use of the “Never Ending Shrimp” mark has the potential to confuse the public and will mislead consumers to believe that TGI Friday’s restaurants are affiliated with Darden’s Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants. Darden alleges violations of federal and state law and seeks injunctive relief, all profits and damages resulting from defendant’s infringing activities, treble damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.

A website that specializes in geek gear has reportedly drawn the ire of the National Pork Board (NPB), which apparently sent the company a cease-and-desist letter for marketing unicorn pâté as “the other white meat.” ThinkGeek.com offered the fake product as an April Fool’s prank, but later received a 12-page legal missive claiming that advertisements for “Radiant Farms Canned Unicorn Meat” infringed and diluted the board’s trademark rights. “Laughs aside, the attorneys were doing their work that they do to protect the trademark,” an NPB spokesperson was quoted as saying. Rather than oppose the cease-and-desist warning, ThinkGeek.com has since issued a public apology to NPB on the company blog. “It was never our intention to cause a national crisis and misguide American citizens regarding the differences between the pig and the unicorn,” stated Geeknet, Inc., CEO Scott Kaufman in a June 21, 2010, press release. “In fact, ThinkGeek’s canned unicorn…

Pennsylvania-based chocolate maker Hershey Co. has filed a Lanham Act lawsuit against Williams-Sonoma Inc., alleging that the kitchen product retailer is marketing and selling a baking pan that infringes Hershey’s “Chocolate Bar Design Mark,” a purportedly distinctive rectangle scored into 12 smaller rectangles. The Hershey Co. v. Williams-Sonoma, Inc., No. 10-1011 (M.D. Pa., filed May 12, 2010). According to the complaint, Hershey has been selling its chocolate bar for more than 100 years and registered its design in 1968. Hershey alleges that defendant’s unauthorized use of the design mark will cause confusion and that potential purchasers and consumers are likely to believe the infringing brownie pan is licensed by or affiliated with Hershey or its products. As an example of that confusion, the complaint quotes alleged online consumer comments about the baking pans: “you can make your own little hershey’s miniatures”; “It’s like a Hershey’s bar with individual brownies”; and “Whether you’re…

Responding to questions referred to it by an Italian court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has determined that (i) the term “Bavaria,” when used in conjunction with beer, is not a generic term, but rather is a protected geographical indication (PGI) recognized in valid proceedings by the European Commission in 2001; and (ii) beer makers outside the German region, using this designation for their products, may do so if they can prove their trademarks were registered in good faith before 2001 and will not likely confuse consumers as to product identity, “having regard to that mark’s reputation, renown and the length of time for which it has been used.”  Bavaria NV v. Bayerischer Brauerbund eV, No. C-343/07 (decided July 2, 2009). German brewers have apparently been challenging Dutch brewer Bavaria NV in courts throughout the continent, including in Italy where the case has been returned for the Dutch brewer to prove that…

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