December 06, 2006

In a recent decision, Senior District Judge Gene Carter of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine refused to grant a motion for temporary injunction against Wild Willy’s Ale Room. The owner of Wild Willy’s Burgers, James Williams, petitioned the court in an attempt to protect his registered trademark (U.S. Trademark Reg. No. 2,746,233), alleging that Wild Willy’s Ale Room was a confusingly similar name to Wild Willy’s Burgers and that the owner of Wild Willy’s Ale Room, William Paladino, should be prohibited from using that name to promote his bar. Judge Carter stated that there was enough of a difference between the two marks, and according to the Seacoast Online article (link below), the court report states that "the record is far from establishing a similarity in the type of businesses and goods marketed for sale and that the general focus of a lounge or bar operation is significantly different than that of a family-style restaurant." In addition, the article states that Williams “received several e-mails and 10 to 15 phone calls a week during the summer from customers asking about the bar in Acton,” and the three e-mails from people believing that the two businesses were related submitted into evidence were dismissed by the court “as hearsay because the individuals who sent the e-mails were unidentified and their statements weren't made under oath.” There are three Wild Willy’s Burgers locations (York, ME, Rochester, NH, and Watertown, MA), the first of which (York) opened in 2001. There is one Wild Willy’s Ale Room, located in Acton, ME, which is believed to have opened after the first Wild Willy’s Burgers location in the same state.

Seacoast Online Article: LINK
Judge Carter’s Decision: LINK
Wild Willy’s Burgers U.S. Trademark Registration (Reg. No. 2,746,233): LINK
Wild Willy’s Burgers Website: LINK
Wild Willy’s Ale Room Website: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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