Food Fight Over: New Jersey Turnpike Authority Gets Told To Pound Sand By PTAB Over Florida Pizza Company's Logo
from the happy-endings dept
You may recall that way back in early 2015, we discussed the absurd story of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority suing Jersey Boardwalk Pizza for trademark infringement. At issue was that the pizza joint’s owners, both from New Jersey, had crafted a clever logo that mimicked the logo for the Garden State Parkway, except it altered all the words to be the parlor’s name and the food it served. It was a clear homage. Nobody denied it. That didn’t change the fact, however, that the NJ Turnpike Authority is both not in the business of selling pizza, nor is it in the business of being in Florida. As such, there was zero potential for customer confusion, and the court dismissed the case.
You would have thought that would be the end of this story. But, no, the NJTPA decided to go the trademark office and try to have the pizza parlor’s trademark invalidated. Why in the hell it bothered doing so is anyone’s guess. Regardless, it didn’t work out well for the Garden State.
Three administrative judges with the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled Monday that Jersey Boardwalk Pizza can continue to use its logo, which the New Jersey Turnpike Authority argued was confusingly similar to the Parkway logo.
In dismissing the authority’s claims, the patent office’s governing board noted the similarities, but the restaurant’s business is unrelated to the roadway. The case was heard in February and took three months to decide.
All sorts of questions leap to mind. What exactly did the folks at the NJTPA think was going to happen at the PTAB after a U.S. District Court refused to entertain this bullshit? Who exactly makes up the legal staff for the NJTPA and are they, or are they not, fully functioning human beings? Is there some kind of gas leak we should be aware of, or perhaps some sort of underground radiation resting just under this legal team’s offices?
The most important question, however, is this: how much taxpayer money was flushed down the litigious toilet, all because a couple of New Jersey transplants wanted a callback to their home state for a Florida pizza business? If the answer to that question is greater than zero, it sure feels like there should be exit interviews going on post-haste.