Little Ceasar's Says Pizza Pizza Pizza Menu Offering Infringes On Its Pizza Pizza Slogan

from the pizza-pizza-pizza-pizza dept

It's time for some morons in a hurry to start ordering some pizza -- but perhaps not a pizza pizza pizza. Michael Scott points us to the news that lawyers for pizza giant Little Caesars are threatening a Michigan restaurant with a trademark infringement claim, because it has an item on its menu called "Pizza Pizza Pizza." For years, Little Caesar's has used the slogan "Pizza Pizza." However, it's difficult to see how anyone goes into the Pronto! Restaurant, and sees the menu item "Pizza Pizza Pizza" and thinks, "gee, I must be getting a Little Caesar's pizza with 50% more pizza!"

One aside, by the way. It's really amazing how often reporters mix up and interchange different types of intellectual property law. In the first paragraph, the reporter claims that the complaint is about "copyright," when the quote from Little Casear's (held off until the final paragraph) shows that it's clearly about trademark law. I can understand some confusion if it's never actually made clear, but this involves an article where the lawyer specifically notes that it's a trademark issue, and the reporter calls it a copyright issue in the opening... and doesn't put the quote in with the details until the very end. That just seems like really bad reporting.

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  • icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:03am

    A Comment on the Linked Article...

    Sums up how I feel pretty well.

    (MelissaD)
    "I never knew Ilitch owned the word "pizza" and I do not see how this is infringing on Little Ceasars Hot N Nasty pizza"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:12am

    Jesus...

    I don't want to start another pizza debate here (mostly because anyone stating that Chicago style stuffed pizza isn't the clear winner is certifiably insane), but a quick question:

    Why the hell is anyone eating pizza from a restaurant chain? I mean, okay, in some remote part of the country where it's the ONLY option, I guess I get it. But is there REALLY that many places w/o a mom and pop pizzaria? The chain pizzas (Dominoes, Pizza Hut, Li'l Ceasars, etc.) have pies in which the taste ranges somewhere between baked holocaust victim and cardboard....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JC, 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:33am

      Re: Jesus...

      Its all about delivery.

      I live in a large city (pop. over 1 million) and we have dozens of little mom and pop pizza places, some of which are worse than the chains. I have found 4 different places that I really love and not 1 of them delivered to my last apartment.

      The best tasting pizza place was only about 8 blocks away, less than a 5 minutes drive but they wouldn't deliver more than 3 blocks east of their location; they do however deliver up to about 2 miles to the west of their location.

      Note: I did not live in a bad neighborhood, it was one of the lowest crime areas for the city.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Sean T Henry (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:53am

        Re: Re: Jesus...

        Have them deliver to the corner and walk the extra 5 blocks.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          JC, 19 Aug 2010 @ 10:27am

          Re: Re: Re: Jesus...

          Sure, I'll just leave my friends at my house to watch a movie for 20 or 30 minutes while I run out and pickup dinner for everyone.

          I have lots of dinner parties, get togethers, movie nights, etc. at my house. I usually plan on being there to enjoy them myself.

          Why are so many people on the internet snide a$$holes?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Hephaestus (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:35am

      Re: Jesus...

      "(mostly because anyone stating that Chicago style stuffed pizza isn't the clear winner is certifiably insane)"

      Chicago style deep dish is the clear winner.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:49am

      Re: Jesus...

      There are no mom and pop pizza shops here. There was one at one time, but the owner left it to his sons when he retired. The pizza went from being a very tasty New York style pizza (not getting into the Chicago/New York debate...they're both damn tasty when prepared properly) to something that had the taste and consistency of chewed hot dog chunks and rat leavings on a bed of wet corrugated cardboard.

      The pizza chain debate is true of almost any large chain restaurant. Their offerings are about convenience and price, not about quality.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      interval (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:50am

      Re: Jesus...

      @helmie: "I mean, okay, in some remote part of the country where it's the ONLY option..."

      Dark; MOST of the country doesn't live in a suburban area. Most of the country in fact lives in rural areas, not so densely populated. In these areas no, there are no "Mom n Pops". AND: I live in the San Fernando Valley, this place is very densely populated, yet I have to drive to a suburb called "Van Nuys" to find anything like you might find in Chicago or Manhattan. And that's not really as good. You assh*les in the big cities don't really know very much about the rest of the country, if its not within walking distance it doesn't really exist. I get the whole metropolitan living thing, I really do. But a really large number of Americans spend their whole lives in rural areas only rarely visiting a large city. There are no "Mom n Pop" pizza joints on every block in the country.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Dark Helmet (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:01am

        Re: Re: Jesus...

        Sigh, okay, I really wasn't trying to make this a rural vs. metropolitan thing, but let's do a little experiment to see how wrong I really am. What's your zip code?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Dark Helmet (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re: Jesus...

        Okay, so far listings in/near San Fernando:

        1. Maria's Italian Kitchen (Northridge)
        2. Pittfire Pizza (North Hollywood)
        3. Two Guys From Italy (Granada Hills)
        4. Ameci Pizza/Pasta (Sylmar)
        5. The Pizza Cookery (Granada Hills)
        6. Numero Uno Pizza (Northridge)
        7. Ravanelli's Pizza (Northridge)

        Now, for some places that I can confirm deliver to the San Fernando Valley:

        1. Topanga Pizza
        2. Round Table Pizza
        3. Guido's Pizza/Pasta
        4. Hi Pizza
        5. Bacio Trattoria
        6. Stone Fire Pizza


        And that's w/o really even trying. The point isn't that everyone has a good pizza place. The point is that most people have an alternative to the fast food pizza chains and they should ALWAYS use them....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          interval (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Jesus...

          1. Maria's Italian Kitchen (Northridge)
          I'd have to check this one out.
          2. Pittfire Pizza (North Hollywood)
          Too far.
          3. Two Guys From Italy (Granada Hills)
          Too far.
          4. Ameci Pizza/Pasta (Sylmar)
          Too Far.
          5. The Pizza Cookery (Granada Hills)
          Too Far.
          6. Numero Uno Pizza (Northridge)
          Sucks.
          7. Ravanelli's Pizza (Northridge)
          I'd need to check this one out too.

          1. Topanga Pizza
          Crap, not Mom n Pop
          2. Round Table Pizza
          Good, but not Mom n Pop
          3. Guido's Pizza/Pasta
          Yes, I can pick up from here. Not bad. So you get one.
          4. Hi Pizza
          Never heard of it
          5. Bacio Trattoria
          Yes, decent pizza.
          6. Stone Fire Pizza
          Decent.

          So yeah, there are a few places here, I'll give you that. But your statement was "everywhere". I still say that's not exactly true. Especially for Chicago or NY stylie.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Dark Helmet (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesus...

            "But your statement was "everywhere". I still say that's not exactly true. Especially for Chicago or NY stylie."

            Er, that's not at all what I said. I didn't say anything about needing to get Chicago or NY style, only something better than the chains. Nor did I say everywhere. I just questioned how many places existed where there wasn't SOME option adjoined to a chain pizza place. Copy/pasted below for your reading pleasure:

            "I mean, okay, in some remote part of the country where it's the ONLY option, I guess I get it. But is there REALLY that many places w/o a mom and pop pizzaria?"

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 9:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesus...

              Where I went to collage, there was only two places to get Pizza; Pizza Hut and Domino's. It was a small city in norther PA that was mostly Bars. Luckily, the local Domino's was owned by a person who only owned that one, so the pizza was fairly good, best Domino's I've ever tasted.

              But what's wrong with someone liking the chains over the locals? It's all a matter of taste, and that's different from person to person. I personally like Papa Johns over all others that I've tried (quite a few). I admit, I do have odd tastes.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Dark Helmet (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 9:12am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesus...

                "Where I went to collage...."

                Facepalm!

                ;)

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Michael, 19 Aug 2010 @ 10:09am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesus...

                  When did we start talking about posting together parts of different pizzas into a pizza collage?

                  First, that sounds like a good idea.
                  Second, is that transformative, or some kind of topping copyright violation?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Dark Helmet (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 9:13am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesus...

                "I personally like Papa Johns over all others that I've tried...."

                FYI, Papa Johns started out of Chicago (or a suburb). It's as close to Chicago pizza as you can get from a chain....

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 11:01am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesus...

                  Never knew the difference between Chicago and NY stile.

                  According to Wikipedia, The first Papa Johns was in Jeffersonville, Indiana. I always was told they started in Johnstown, PA.

                  "college" (dyslexia's a bitch.)

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Haywood (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 9:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesus...

              But is there REALLY that many places w/o a mom and pop pizzaria?"

              I think the real question is: Are there really that many places w/o a mom and pop pizzeria that doesn't suck more than the chains.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        SandyC, 19 Aug 2010 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re: Jesus...

        Thank You! I know a city guy who rants about how he can't get some sort of super high band internet access over his toothbrush and how phone service sucks in the big city. I tell him we just want something other than dial up internet service in the house and my AT&T cell phone works fine in the boondocks.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:57am

      Re: Jesus...

      But... I really like dominoes deep dish...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:32am

      Re: Jesus...

      There is a name for what you just did there, I just can't remember it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Haywood (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:46am

      Re: Jesus...

      I grew up on mom and pop pizza but still prefer a Pizza Hut, Meat lovers, stuffed crust, to any I've had previously. Most mom and pops places now use the conveyor oven, & scrimp on quality to compete with the chains. I can't remember the last "to die for" pizza I have had, including small shops with real brick ovens, tossed crust, etc. The magic is either there or it isn't

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:48am

      Re: Jesus...

      Just like Wal*Mart: It boils down to cost. Most people don't give a shit that it tastes like cardboard, they like Pizza Hut costing 50-70% of their neighborhood Mario's. And the best Pizza I've had was in Jersey, but really I like pizza places that experiment more than I like pizza places that serve the same-old.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      known coward, 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:49am

      Re: Jesus...

      1. New york pizza rules. (Though I do like eduardo's).

      2. Holocaust victims were smoked. Later they were broiled for efficency.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Pete, 19 Aug 2010 @ 9:22am

        Re: Re: Jesus...

        Um - he didn't say they hadn't been smoked.... Just that it tasted like they'd taken one and baked it to a crisp.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 9:22am

        Re: Re: Jesus...

        1. Yeah, if it's not a NY-style 'za, it's not pizza. Chicago apparently is trying to pass off casserole as the real thing.

        2. Wait. What?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ron Rezendes (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:50am

      Re: Jesus...

      UMMMM... I completely understand about pizza that tastes liek cardboard but now I'm frightened why you even have a reference for the other!!

      "The chain pizzas (Dominoes, Pizza Hut, Li'l Ceasars, etc.) have pies in which the taste ranges somewhere between baked holocaust victim and cardboard..."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      rangda (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 9:07am

      Re: Jesus...

      "Why the hell is anyone eating pizza from a restaurant chain?"

      Where I live (bit north of Boston) there are many, many mom & pop pizza places. Sadly they all SUCK so bad that Little Caesars would be a vastly superior option (there was one by my house but it closed about 10 years ago).

      Pretty much every pizza shop in MA serves greek style pizza which I despise. NY or Chicago style pizzas do not exist.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      TtfnJohn (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 9:27am

      Re: Jesus...

      Hate to tell you this but there are one or two.

      Still, I've been sent to the back of beyond to work and there are two things I can practically guarantee in any town over 4000 residents and that's at least 1 gas station and 1 pizza place. The pizza in those places ranges from crud to out of this world. I guess the latter is more common because you can't really get away with crud in a small place where everyone knows you even when you're off work.

      I've been in smaller places where there's nothing much to see or do and you'll often find someone making pizza. On Indian reserves in the back of the back of beyond where you'll find, guess what?, pizza! Interesting toppings, mind, with such things a moose and deer and other meats that big city folks would turn their noses up at and veg you've never heard of before cause it's all local stuff that often doesn't grow anywhere else.

      Of course I live in British Columbia so, outside of Vancouver, to most Americans the rest of the place is the back of beyond but I'm really talking back of back of back of beyond here! ;-)

      And I won't contribute to the debate into what's the best pizza except to say it's thin crust done in a brick oven with fresh tomato sauce (not canned), fresh local veg and meat from a local butcher who knows how to make sausage rather than the stuff you find on sale in Safeway or Wal-Mart. Each pizza made from scratch by order. ;-)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Greg G, 19 Aug 2010 @ 1:50pm

      Re: Jesus...

      Chicago style stuffed pizza (if you are referring to deep dish) is not pizza.. it's a casserole.

      But I agree on the other points. I used to eat Pizza Hut when I was younger and didn't care, but now.. screw that.
      Little Caesar's? Little chance.

      Even a "local" chain is 984652734657982365 times better than the national ones.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SteveHedberg, 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:15am

    Well as is often the case, if you can't innovate, or in this case make a pizza that tastes good, you litigate.

    It does seem like a misplaced lawsuit. I mean I get that you have to defend a trademark simply because of how our laws work, which is another subject altogether, but this seems misplaced.

    That is, of course, unless the Michigan store is running a commercial with Muppets singing "Pizza Pizza Pizza"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:16am

    ok

    then due to my 1st posting
    25 years ago in a irc chat that was logged i claim the phrase
    WHERE'S MY PIZZA
    pay me now

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    halley (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:26am

    It's not just the reporters who get the copyright/trademark/patent/secret distinctions wrong. On NPR a couple weeks back, they were interviewing the lawyer for the Ansel Adams estate, and the LAWYER claimed on the air "we have a copyright on the Ansel Adams name..." *facepalm*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Andy (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:29am

    Reporters...

    Aside about reporters getting things wrong:

    A while back I was interviewed by email for an article in a magazine. Imagine my surprise when the journalist not only misspelled the name of the city in which my company is located - the capital of Canada - she then went on to claim that I was living in The Netherlands...

    I've never looked at journalists/journalism the same way again. I mean if they get simple things like that wrong with my piddlin' little interview... I did mention that the interview was by email right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Allan, 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:31am

    What about the Canadian chain "Pizza Pizza"? They've been around since 1967.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2010 @ 7:54am

    Another last gasp from a dying business that makes a crap product and has been judged thus by the public. I would call it a detriment to be recognized as a Little Caesars pizza and would change it immediately. I would post signs stating that fact in no uncertain terms. Little Caesars. Yuck!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dean Landolt, 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:08am

    used in commerce?

    Heh. I didn't know that mark was still "used in commerce" -- I thought Little Caesars died off years ago (it certainly did in the DC area).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:17am

    Re: hello Dear,

    Bwhahahahahahaha!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      interval (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:44am

      Re: Re: hello Dear,

      Hey, I got an im on my cell last night that was very similar, I'm not kidding. My wife was not amused. Some one must be blasting the country on several media channels with this crap.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:18am

    False Advertising

    Remember when Little Ceasar's used to sell two pizzas? Like you couldn't buy one pizza, they came on a sheet of cardboard covered with paper? That's what "pizza pizza" meant to me, not a slogan but an advertisement. Not only do I think they shouldn't get sole use of the phrase, I think they shouldn't be allowed to use it till they return to that format.

    This is the most litigious culture that has ever existed, where's the lawsuit people?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Danny, 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:33am

    My god....

    Little Ceasar's Pizza. I remember when those shops were all over the place but now the only time I ever see their pizza is when local schools/clubs are doing fundraisers.

    They're just trying to get back the old glorry.

    At least Domininos tried to look like they were trying with their round of marketing about how they listened to complaints and made their pizza better...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      CrushU, 19 Aug 2010 @ 2:41pm

      Re: My god....

      Actually Domino's did change their pizza. I doubt it was from listening to complaints, but it is better pizza now.

      I have four places to get pizza. Three of them are chains (Pizza Hut (only worth it for stuffed crust), Papa's Pizza (cheap and close to where I work), Domino's (cheap and actually pretty tasty)) The fourth place is independently owned, but not really been too impressed with their pizza.

      Oh. At college they have a cafeteria-like deal, and there is a station with a brick pizza oven. They make good pizza, and occasionally do different things with the pizza, too. There's a Papa John's in a building across the street that's slightly faster to get pizza from, and larger slices, but the cafeteria is consistently better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:36am

    Maybe the Michigan store should change their product's name to "3-Pizza" and go with a sports theme. Yeah, it's caving, but it's also catchier than "Pizza Pizza Pizza" and opens up all kinds of sports tie-ins. (Which would probably require a ridiculous licensing deal if not done carefully, but they could always be oblique, like all the "Big Game" vs. "Superbowl" ads discussed a few months back.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Josh R, 19 Aug 2010 @ 8:44am

    Pizza Pizza!

    I sure did like the old Little Ceasar's (Pizza Pizza!) business model better than their stinkin' sunlamp pizza business model they are using now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    william (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 10:02am

    time to use one of those

    "Warning, Journalist does not understand the subject they are writing about"

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100813/11285210619.shtml

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    johnjac (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 11:14am

    #TacoTuesday ?

    #tacotuesday

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    technomage (profile), 19 Aug 2010 @ 12:51pm

    question..

    Didn't LC stop offering the "buy one, get one free" model years ago? I thought trademark had to be actively used, and as the "pizza, pizza" trademark was for the business model of buy one, get one free campaign of the 80's and 90's, shouldn't the trademark have lapsed by now due to them not even using it for what it was intended?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 19 Aug 2010 @ 4:56pm

    I like "real" pizza, but I also liked Little Ceasar's pizza. I used to get one at least every other week. Then the main location, which was always really busy, closed. I found another nearby, which never seemed to have any customers apart from myself. After a couple months, that one closed. The local K-Mart added Little Ceasar's to its (tiny) food court in the front of the store, but the pies were all pre-made and tasted worse than most frozen pizzas. Then they stopped offering anything by LC. Eventually, they closed the food court completely.

    Now, there are no LC's around here (New England area) and they don't even advertise on TV any more. I honestly thought the chain went out of business years ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BCNewman, 20 Aug 2010 @ 12:50am

    Pizza Pizza meant 2 pizzas in a box

    I can't believe no one knows why they used Pizza Pizza to begin with. When you ordered from them you got 2 pizzas in one box. hence 'Pizza Pizza'. They no longer follow that business model, which strikes this whole lawsuit kind of odd. What do they have to gain here? Little Ceasars is a discount franchise business now more than ever. Why would you attack the customers of a pizza joint that you want to gain business form when they want pizza in a hurry? Are they going to suw me if I say 'Pizza Pizza Pizza Pizza'?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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