Detroit-based restaurant-turned-brewery Traffic Jam & Snug has filed a federal lawsuit against the Michigan-based, family-owned business, Blake Farms Hard Apple Cider.
In the complaint, Traffic Jam & Snug alleges that a version of Blake's cider, named Traffic Jam, violates several laws, including the Trademark Act of 1946.
According to the lawsuit, representatives for Traffic Jam sent a cease and desist letter to Blake's earlier this spring. Allegedly, the company did not respond.
The lawsuit argues that Blake's use of Traffic Jam’s “Traffic Jam” mark is likely to cause confusion or to deceive consumers as to the affiliation of Blake Farms with Traffic Jam. Traffic Jam & Snug is asking for damages and legal costs, as well as requesting that Blake Farms stop sale and distribution of the Traffic Jam cider and destroy all promotional material with Blake's Traffic Jam name.
Andrew Blake, owner and founder of Blake’s Hard Cider, released the following statement to Metro Times:
"We are aware that Traffic Jam & Snug has filed a lawsuit against Blake’s related to our Traffic Jam cider product. It is unfortunate that Traffic Jam & Snug moved so quickly to litigation after sending their cease and desist letter as it did not allow the parties to discuss an amicable resolution to the issue. Regardless, we do not agree with the allegations contained in the complaint. Traffic Jam & Snug does not have a federal trademark for ‘Traffic Jam’ and any common law right they might have are extremely limited given their business model, their use of the alleged mark and the geographic scope in which they operate."
"Nobody likes litigation and certainly litigation between two companies with such strong ties to Detroit is even less pleasant. While we were not given the opportunity to attempt to resolve the issue before litigation was commenced, we at Blake’s are hopeful that the parties can still come to a resolution which allows both to continue to use the name."
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