from the nah-dawg dept
If it seems like there are more stupid trademark battles per capita fought in the restaurant industry, it’s not because you’re crazy. It’s very much a thing. Whether it’s Taco John’s wanting to own “Taco Tuesday“, McDonalds insisting only it can call a fish sandwich a “filet o’ fish”, or two Brazilian restaurants fighting over the rights to use image of a fire in their logos, the common theme you should notice is how these battles are all over things that are descriptive or generic. And, yet, these fights rage on.
Take, for instance, a burger joint in Texas sending a cease and desist notice to another burger joint in Texas for daring to use the word “juicy.”
Longhorn Cafe LLC sent a cease-and-desist letter to local restaurateur Andrew Weissman, owner of Mr. Juicy restaurants, demanding he stop using that name for his growing burger spots.
The letter, which Weissman posted to his Instagram yesterday, was sent on Longhorn Cafe’s behalf by lawyer John Cave of Gunn, Lee and Cave PC. It demands that Weissman stop using the name “Mr. Juicy” at the McCullough and Hildebrand locations, or any other restaurants. The letter also demands that Weissman remove Mr. Juicy from all internet listing sites such as Yelp and food delivery sites such UberEats. It gave Weissman 10 days to respond.
While the letter itself doesn’t tease out what trademarks it has that make this all trademark infringement, its menu does include an item called the “Original Big Juicy” burger. That truly seems to be what all of this is about.
Which is stupid. We’ll start with the fact that “juicy” is a descriptive term, particularly in the restaurant industry. Even if its use in the name of the restaurant is not describing a specific product, it’s still descriptive generally. When you add to all of that the simple fact that the term “juicy,” when it comes to food, is laughably generic, then the validity of this whole dispute goes right out the window.
To be clear, Longhorn Cafe’s actual trademark is valid: “The Original Big Juicy”. That whole term seems worthy of trademark status. But it certainly doesn’t make a competitor in the foodstuffs industry using “juicy” infringing upon that trademark.
Weissman said it is unfortunate that Longhorn Cafe didn’t reach out to him to work something out before sending the letter. Nevertheless, he intends to fight it, which he acknowledges will cost money.
Needless money from a burger joint that probably can’t afford it. Yay, trademark bullying!