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New Challenge for Restaurant Owners: Obtaining Federal Trademark Registration for a Single Location

February 22, 2016

Are you a single-location restaurant which owns a nationwide trademark registration for your brand? Or would you like to own a registration?

An interesting decision was recently issued by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board rejecting a trademark application for pizza in connection with a single location restaurant. The question raised was whether interstate commerce was proven by the applicant; it's required for federal registration of a mark. In Doctor's Associates Inc. v. Janco, LLC, the applicant Janco LLC operated one restaurant in the State of Washington at which it sold pizza. Janco applied to register the name FLATIZZA for the pizza. The Board rejected the application because Janco failed to show that its restaurant services were rendered to any out-of-state customers.

The Board was looking for this type of proof:

  • Tracking data showing that visitors to the website were from out of state
  • A guestbook (at the location and virtual) showing patrons/visitors with out of state addresses
  • Listings of the restaurant in travel and restaurant guides that are in state and out of state (such as marine guides); and
  • Advertising out of state.
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