March 13, 2007

In a suit recently filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Palermo’s Villa, Inc. has accused Trader Joe’s of trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false advertising. The subject of the suit is the use of “Palermo’s” to modify “pizza,” as Palermo’s sells frozen pizza’s under the Palermo’s name, and Trader Joe’s sells “Pizza Palermo” frozen pizzas at its retail stores. According to the ABC-7 (Chicago) article (link below), Trader Joe’s plans to continue selling Pizza Palermo, and an attorney for Trader Joe’s stated that the Palermo name is purely descriptive, does not serve as a source identifier, and noted specifically that Palermo is a city within Sicily that has a distinctive regional style of pepperoni pizza. Palermo’s has two registered trademarks in the United States for “Palermo’s” (U.S. Trademark Reg. Nos. 2,695,589 for the logo and 2,697,721 for the word mark), and also has several pending trademark applications incorporating the word “Palermo’s.” Palermo’s is seeking unspecified damages, an injunction, and profits from Trader Joe’s sales of Pizza Palermo.

U.S. Trademark Reg. No. 2,695,589 (Palermo’s logo): LINK
U.S. Trademark Reg. No. 2,697,721 (Palermo’s word mark): LINK
ABC-7 (Chicago) News Article: LINK
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel News Article: 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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