Starting a new restaurant is truly an exciting experience. Finally, you can combine use your passion for food to form a business for everyone to see and experience! While you may be busy with menu planning, operations, interior design, or staff training, you cannot afford to forget to make sure you’re legally compliant.
One important aspect some restaurant operators fail to consider is their trademark. As you begin branding initiatives, the first step is logo creation. It may be a design you created, inspired by a piece of pop culture or perhaps another logo. Unfortunately, while the design may be unique in your eyes, it very well may be “confusingly similar” to another trademark. Without performing due diligence and properly researching existing patents and trademarks in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you could potentially be infringing on another business’s trademarked design.
TMFeatures describes a “confusingly similar” trademark case where a restaurant owner’s trademark performed an inadequate USPTO which ended in a lawsuit from the Rolling Stones I.P.
“…USPTO contacted him letting him know his new trademark was published. Soon after receiving the USPTO publish notice Zoest Legal contacted Mr. Wright claiming infringement of the Rolling Stones’ tongue trademark.
Mr. Wright was surprised and upset. After comparing the two trademarks (“Taste of Soul”, his restaurant, also has a tongue as part of its design), Mr. Wright decided it would be better to change his trademark then fight with Zoest Legal. He removed the tongue and re-branded his business “Freddie’s Famous Wraps.” This entire episode could have been avoided had Mr. Wright known about the “confusingly similar” part of the USPTO code. Read the entire narrative here: http://www.tmfeature.com/AprilCS.htm
The moral of the story? If you are starting a new restaurant, save yourself time, trouble, and money by doing your homework on existing trademarks and patents to do it right the first time around!Blog, Restaurant Start ups