Restaurant Sues Identically Named Business for Trademark Infringement

On Tuesday, Tommy’s Destiny, Inc. and Poppy, Inc. filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Kentucky against Fury Asian Foods, Inc. for allegedly infringing the trademarked name of their Japanese steakhouse.

The plaintiffs operate Japanese hibachi steakhouses with the trademark “Sakura Japanese Steakhouse.” Their two primary steakhouses opened in 2004 in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2008, the complaint said.

Recently, the plaintiffs learned that the defendant is “making plans to open and operate a Japanese hibachi-style restaurant under the exact same name as Plaintiffs’ restaurants” as Sakura Japanese Steakhouse. restaurant is less than 35 miles from both of the plaintiffs’ locations and is considered within the Cincinnati Metropolitan Region, so this new restaurant “will serve the same or similar consumers of the Japanese hibachi-style restaurant experience as Plaintiffs’ current restaurants.”

There are no federal trademarks for this name, but “each of the Sakura Japanese hibachi-style restaurants located in other geographic locations rely on common law trademark rights in their respective geographic regions” which applies in this situation.

The plaintiffs claimed that their common law trademark is distinctive as they have been using the name since 2004 and have “fostered a substantial and well-earned reputation for excellence and significant goodwill with consumers.” This infringement has allegedly caused confusion from customers and potential employees and has harmed the plaintiffs greatly. As a result, the plaintiffs are suing for violations of the Lanham Act and common law trademark infringement.

The plaintiffs are seeking declaratory relief, injunctive relief enjoining the Defendant from using the “Sakura” trademark, restitution and disgorgement, treble damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

The plaintiffs are represented by Ulmer & Berne, LLP.