Louisiana bar charges North Carolina bar with unfair competition

On behalf of Koch & Schmidt posted in Contract Disputes on Wednesday, June 22, 2016.

One of the most pleasant things to do when traveling is to explore local eating establishments. Tourists seem to enjoy trying menu items or beverages that are exclusive to certain restaurants and bars, and those businesses try to entice customers with their unique offerings. So when one business accuses another of unfair competition and trademark infringement, it can leave a bad taste in one’s mouth.

A local restaurant claims to make millions of dollars a year selling a pair of trademark drinks and the accompanying merchandise. The drinks have been restaurant staples for 30 years. A few years ago, the restaurant sued a Cajun-themed bar in North Carolina for selling identical drinks after having purchased a large amount of drink mix and special cups from the Louisiana restaurant’s website. The bar agreed to stop selling the drink and even paid the restaurant revenues from the drink sales.

Nevertheless, the bar resumed selling drinks bearing the names of the Louisiana restaurant’s exclusive cocktails. It even publicized the drinks on its social media page. The restaurant is apparently not flattered by the imitation, protesting that they advertise themselves as the home of these special beverages, and that the North Carolina bar is committing trademark infringement and counterfeiting, as well as breach of contract and unfair competition.

Building a successful business does not come easily. It takes years of sweat and sacrifice. When business owners in Louisiana feel as if their hard work and reputations are being infringed upon, they may turn to a dedicated attorney who will defend their rights. Having that guidance and support may be invaluable when the stability and success of one’s livelihood is threatened by unfair competition.

Source: bizjournals.com, “New Orleans bar sues N.C. establishment over drink names“, Lauren K. Ohnesorge, June 13, 2016