Monday, November 30, 2015

NJ Turnpike Authority files lawsuit over pizza shop logo

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is suing a Florida pizza company, saying its logos are too similar to the Garden State Parkway logo.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is suing a Florida pizza company, saying its logos are too similar to the Garden State Parkway logo.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has filed a lawsuit to get a Florida pizza company to stop using logos similar to Garden State Parkway signs.

The suit, filed this week in federal court in Newark, claims Jersey Boardwalk Pizza is infringing on the authority's service marks with its signage online and at its Tavernier and Florida City, Fla., shops.

The agency says Jersey Boardwalk Pizza's green and yellow logos are "virtually identical" to the "iconic" Garden State Parkway logo. The company is making money off the logos using the highway's logo to attract customers, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit says the Garden State Parkway logo "has acquired substantial consumer recognition and goodwill and has achieved the status of being a famous mark."

The pizza shops, according to the suit, "blatantly copy and appropriate" the logos, a move "likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception as to the source or origin of Defendants' services."

In an email included in the lawsuit filing, an attorney for the pizza company says the logos are unlikely to cause confusion.

"Given the very distinct difference in the goods and services offered by our respective clients (yours being a governmental agency providing highway maintenance and travel related services exclusively in the state of New Jersey -- ours being a franchisor of pizza restaurants providing the opportunity to provide delicious pizza and Italian food to patrons of its licensed restaurants), there is no plausible likelihood of confusion," JoyAnn Kenny wrote in response to a cease-and-desist letter sent in April.

Kenny calls the turnpike authority's pursuit of the pizza company "an unnecessary, fruitless and unwarranted waste of public resources."

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or Follow @phillynews on Twitter.
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