Flour City Pasta Goes Trademark On All The Other Flour City Food Companies Until Backlash Ensues

from the flour-town dept

I didn't realize this, but apparently Rochester, NY is nicknamed "The Flour City." You learn so much being a Techdirt writer. Anyway, Rochester became one of the largest flour-producing cities in the world back in the 1800s, which likewise caused a great deal of food-related businesses to spring up in the city as well. Many of those businesses today include "Flour City" somewhere in their names. In fact, something like seventy businesses in Rochester have "Flour City" in their names. Yet, in a brief legal scare, one local business decided that it, and only it, should suddenly control the term for the food business and began sending out cease and desist letters. That is until the backlash became too heavy to handle.

All should be able to breathe a bit easier now that Flour City Pasta appears to be backing off local attempts to enforce the trademark for its name, and exclusivity over "Flour City." A dust-up occurred recently after the Macedon-based company sent cease-and-desist letters to some local businesses in the food service industry, which included Keith Myers and his Rochester-based Flour City Bread Co.

Flour City Pasta owner Jon Stadt backed off the demands Tuesday morning, adding on a Facebook post that "it was never our intention to harm a fellow merchant, especially one we so respect. Our concern was the threat of out-of-state competition and confusion over our name Flour City Pasta — a brand that we spent five years building and protecting."
Yes, Flour City Pasta was so immeasurably concerned about other companies out of state using the "Flour City" phrase in commerce that it trained its sights first on all the in state businesses doing so. Sorry, that doesn't pass the smell test, unless we're specifically smell-testing for bullshit. What actually happened is that Flour City Bread had started up a crowd-funding campaign to support the business and petition the government to cancel Flour City Pasta's trademark entirely. At that point, the pasta company went limp noodle and ran away.

But not, of course, before trotting out every trademark bully's favorite excuse.
While the company appears to be backing off local enforcement, it still would likely pursue enforcement from out-of-state interests infringing upon its business, said Nunes [Flour City Pasta's attorney], adding that a petition for a business in Florida has the local pasta company concerned.

"This was the concern from the get-go," he said. "It never was about Rochester. It’s about out-of-state sales. You have to police the market and that is why you have to send out cease-and-desist orders. If you don’t police the market … eventually people will strip you of your rights to the (trademark)."
And they'll probably have a hard time fighting that Florida company on the merits, as it seems that all kinds of food-makers are using the Flour City name already, and have done so for years. And yet, despite all of this common use, these companies have stuck around. It will be interesting to hear why Flour City Pasta thinks the name can be widely used within Rochester but must be protected from companies in Florida. The reality is probably more along the lines that Flour City shouldn't be a trademark in the first place.

Filed Under: flour city, pasta, rochester, trademark
Companies: flour city pasta


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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 8 Oct 2015 @ 11:41pm

    Flour City Pasta is definitely a gluten for punishment.

    [...]

    I'll just let myself out.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2015 @ 4:51am

    Can't pasta the Bull shit meter.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Oct 2015 @ 6:01am

    Guessing that at least 1 of the other businesses in the area could show they were using the mark first.

    They should keep working to cancel the mark, putting a nice period on the sentence Don't be an asshole.

    I'm sure being out the money for filing for the mark, and retaining what I can only guess is a moron with a pile of law school debt will lead this to new heights of stupid as he keeps hiring new lawyers to fix the prior lawyers failings.

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

  • icon
    rabbit wise (profile), 9 Oct 2015 @ 10:53am

    flour city

    good lord, just wait until everyone realizes that rochester's nicknamed changed to "the flower city" ...in the 1850's...

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

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 9 Oct 2015 @ 2:42pm

    ""it was never our intention to harm a fellow merchant, especially one we so respect. Our concern was the threat of out-of-state competition and confusion over our name Flour City Pasta — a brand that we spent five years building and protecting."" In a word; bullshit! They saw a chance to try and grab the words Flour City and when it all went arse up they slunk away to hide under a rock and hope that it will go away. Idiots!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2015 @ 6:55pm

    The Facebook post has been removed now too. He's doing all kinds of backpedaling.

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


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