Boston What?

A company from British Columbia opened a pizza joint chain called Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza. Somehow they managed to secure a federal trademark for that strangely-worded mark, and they opened 50 Pizzerias nationwide.

On a little side-street in DeLand, Florida, there is a little coffee shop called the Boston Gourmet Coffeehouse.

For some reason, the big pizza company with the descriptive name thinks that it owns a monopoly on the words “Boston” and “gourmet” together.

This is only at the complaint stage, but this seems like a clear example of trademark bullying to me.

The complaint, signed by lawyers from Boca Raton and Denver is here.

One Response to Boston What?

  1. Ken says:

    -Plaintiff’s primary business is located in the Midwest and Western states.
    -They are not well known in the Southeast.
    -Plaintiff’s mark is clearly geographically descriptive of its service. They even had to diclaim “THE GOURMET PIZZA” from their mark. “Boston” is the geographic portion. Even if they have 2(F) because of sustained use for at least five years the mark would still be limited.
    -Plaintiff does pizza. The defendant does coffee.

    -Boston Gourmet Coffee has also used its mark since the mid 90’s, 1996.
    -Boston Gourmet Coffee has their own Federal trademark #3318378, filed in 2005.
    -Boston Gourmet Coffeehouse purchased their domain name two years before the plaintiff’s.

    The only advantage the Plaintiff has is its preexisting Federal trademark. It’s up to them to pursue any rights “they” think they have. Here, the plaintiff does not have a good case and at best the court would probably limit the defendants future growth plans if it chose to expand, but they likely won’t loose their current name rights. Maybe this it what the Plaintiff wants. After all, it appears they are vamping up their expansion efforts and I’m certain they see the defendant’s rights as a threat.

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