Pierogies Bite Back

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Picture of Andrew Rapacke
Andrew Rapacke is a registered patent attorney and serves as Managing Partner at The Rapacke Law Group, a full service intellectual property law firm.

A bitter dispute is coming to a boil between a suburban Chicago chamber of commerce in Indiana and a Pennsylvania community committee for Edwardsville over cultural festivals celebrating a traditional Polish dish: pierogies.

The Indiana Chamber brought suit alleging that the Edwardsville “Pierogi Festival” infringes on its 2007 trademark registration for “Pierogi Fest.” Although the “Pierogi Fest” trademark has become incontestable and cannot be challenged for descriptiveness, it may still be challenged as too “generic.”

The standard for determining whether a mark is generic is whether competitors are unable to compete without using the same term. This is most often the point of dispute with marks that are so ubiquitous that they have become synonymous with the type of goods themselves. Here where the mark is being used to prevent a festival for pierogies from being called a “Pierogi Festival,” it would be a strong argument to challenge the validity of the mark.

Source: Chicago Tribune

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