Intellectual Property Keyed to Merges
Zatarain’s, Inc. v. Oak Grove Smokehouse, Inc
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Zatarain’s (Plaintiff) manufactured and distributed food products. It registered the terms “Fish-Fri” and “Chick-Fri” as trademarks for its batter mixes used to fry foods. Oak Grove Smokehouse, Inc. (Defendant) began marketing a “fish fry” and a “chicken fry” in packages similar to those used by Plaintiff. Plaintiff brought suit for trademark infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act. The district court held that Zatarain’s (Plaintiff) trademark “Fish-Fri” was a descriptive term with an established secondary meaning, but held that the alleged infringers had a fair use defense to any asserted infringement of the term and that the registration of the term “Chick-Fri” should be canceled because it was a descriptive term that lacked any secondary meaning. Plaintiff appealed, claiming that its trademark “Fish-Fri” was a suggestive term that was automatically protected upon registration and therefore not subject to the “fair use” defense.
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