US ‘farm to table’ restaurant, The Kitchen, has launched a trademark law suit against celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. The twelve year old restaurant is attacking Puck’s use of the name ‘The Kitchen’.
Puck, famous for his Beverly Hills star restaurant Spago, opened a new place: ‘The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck’ and ‘The Kitchen Counter by Wolfgang Puck’ in 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA).
Kimbal Musk, co-owner of The Kitchen, stated the confusion was immediate. “Last year, when the restaurant first opened, people started calling me to ask if we were opening in Grand Rapids.”, Musk notes. “Our Chicago location is popular, we have a well-known brand there and people familiar with it thought we were expanding to Michigan.”
But Musk has more issues: “There are multiple problems with this whole situation. One is that Wolfgang knows me, knows my family, and knows about The Kitchen. To pursue this name and prey on a still-young and upcoming group like ours is one of the saddest things I have ever seen as a businessman. Another big problem is that his concept is franchise-based, a system in which controlling the local sourcing of ingredients will likely be very difficult; that affects our brand”.
Although Musk owns three trademarks that include The Kitchen name, this is going to be an interesting fight. The question will boil down to this: Can you exclusively claim a name like “The Kitchen” for a restaurant? Perhaps we should take this with a pinch of salt.
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