A Macomb County judge has ruled that forthcoming Clinton Township restaurant Muer’s Table + Bar can no longer use “Muer” in its name, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Joe Muer Seafood owner Joe Vicari filed a lawsuit in March against the Mall at Partridge Creek restaurant alleging that the seafood restaurant Muer’s Table + Bar — owned by Joe Muer’s nephew Dave Muer —was infringing on company trademarks and employing deceptive business practices.
Vicari’s filing claimed that the Muer’s Table name had “caused and will continue to cause actual confusion” for customers who will associate it with the unaffiliated Joe Muer Seafood brand. The filing argued that design features at Muer’s Table + Bar such as black and white checkered floors, a lobster tank, and chandeliers were too similar to designs from the original Joe Muer’s.
Judge Kathryn Viviano granted Vicari a preliminary injunction late last week. Vicari calls the decision “a relief” and tells the Free Press he intends to “pursue this case to its end to ensure the epic legacy of the Joe Muer Seafood name, especially given its expansion since 2011, is protected.”
In a statement to Eater, Jonathan B. Frank, an attorney representing Muer’s Table + Bar for the law firm Maddin Hauser Roth & Heller, PC writes:
We will seek clarification from Judge Viviano today that David Muer can use his own name in connection with the restaurant, as he had with his previous restaurant. Nothing in trademark law prevents him from using his full name as long as he is not seeking to confuse consumers. To be clear, Mr. Muer has no interest in claiming an affiliation with Mr. Vicari's restaurant.
Finally, contrary to Mr. Vicari's statement, the judge did not decide that the new restaurant copied the design elements and concept of Mr. Vicari's restaurant or that it had an almost identical menu.
Vicari’s company Joe Vicari Restaurant Group purchased the rights to the iconic Joe Muer Seafood legacy including the restaurant’s name, trademark, recipes, and designs in 2011. The company currently operates a Joe Muer Seafood on Detroit’s riverfront and has national expansion plans. A new location of Joe Muer Seafood is slated to debut in Bloomfield Hills early next month.
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