The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is suing a chain of Florida pizza restaurants whose logo closely resembles the agency’s Garden State Parkway sign, according to the New Jersey Law Journal, which first reported the lawsuit.
The agency has issues with the logo that Jersey Boardwalk Pizza uses for its two pizza restaurants, as well as on the merchandise that it sells online. It recently argued in federal court that the restaurant chain is taking advantage of the popularity of the Garden State Parkway logo. The logos (pictured below) use similar design elements, like a map of New Jersey, and similar color schemes.
The trademark infringement suit demands that Boardwalk Pizza give up its use of the logo and relinquish all logo-embossed merchandise.
Defending the pizza franchise company, lawyer JoyAnn Kenny wrote a letter to the lawyers of the Turnpike Authority highlighting the different nature of the two organizations’ goods and services, the Associated Press reported. While the Turnpike Authority is a government agency providing highway maintenance and travel services, Jersey Boardwalk Pizza is a pizza restaurant franchisor, Kenny said in her letter. Confusing the two is highly unlikely, she wrote, noting that the pizza restaurant’s logo had been in use since April 2011.
The Star-Ledger quoted Boardwalk Pizza owners Skip Parratt and his brother-in-law Paul DiMatteo as saying that the suit was “hysterical” and “ridiculous,” given the fact that their Florida location is 1,300 miles away from the Garden State Parkway that it’s impossible for people to confuse the two enterprises.
An attorney representing the Turnpike Authority disputed the restaurant’s claims noting that the Garden State Parkway features a number of service areas that include restaurants that serve pizza. “Consumers who encounter your client’s mark as used in connection with its restaurant services will mistakenly assume that your client’s use of the mark is authorized by NJTA and/or that the food items served at your client’s restaurant are associated with the food served at the restaurants located in the services areas on the Garden State Parkway,” Peter Nussbaum said. The Garden State Parkway logo has been in use since 1956.
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