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Wolfgang Puck Flambés “The Kitchen” Trademark Dispute
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Summary: Wolfgang Puck is fighting a rival restaurant group for the right to use the phrase “the kitchen.”

Can someone actually trademark the phrase “the kitchen?” That’s what two culinary powerhouses are stewing over, and their fight is turning up from a simmer to a boil.


Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s companies have asked a federal court to stop competitor The Kitchen Cafe LLC from staking a claim to the phrase “the kitchen.” Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc. and Wolfgang Puck Express Licensing LLC filed the complaint in Chicago is on February 24, according to the Cook County Record.

The phrase “the kitchen” is already common vernacular, but Puck’s empire wants to protect the right to continue using the term in restaurants such as The Kitchen By Wolfgang Puck and The Kitchen Counter By Wolfgang Puck. According to court documents, TKC had filed a lawsuit in November against Wolfgang Puck Licensing LLC for using the phrase, an alleged violation of their trademark.

Puck’s team said TKC was trying to stir the pot to create controversy and their trademark infringement claim was “unfair.” They also said it was impossible to trademark a phrase as “generic” as “the kitchen.”

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“TKC has not acquired distinctiveness in ‘The Kitchen,’” the complaint stated. “Its use of the name has been limited to no more than a handful of restaurants located in Colorado, Chicago and Memphis, Tenn. There are many, many restaurants unrelated to TKC which use the name ‘The Kitchen.’ In addition, there are hundreds of other restaurants which use ‘kitchen’ in their names in combination with other terms.”

Puck’s companies, which are represented by Barnes & Thornburg LLP, are seeking dismissal of TKC’s complaint as well as a declaratory judgment that Puck may use the phrase “the kitchen.” They also want TKC’s trademark registration of the names The Kitchen Upstairs and The Kitchen Next Door to be cancelled.

Photo courtesy of JensenHarris

Source: Cook County Record

What do you think of this trademark dispute? Let us know in the comments below.


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