Pike/Pine dive bar and sandwich joint the Honeyhole is facing a legal battle over its very essence: its classic name.
Last month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board handed down its ruling affirming a decision rejecting Honeyhole’s application to trademark its 19-year-old Capitol Hill brand because of an existing claim on the name:
In its appeal of the decision filed last year in April, the E Pike sandwich shop and bar argued that its registration as a “restaurant with bar specializing in serving proprietary unique sandwiches, local beers and alcohol in a vibrant, eclectic environment” did not conflict with the trademark previously granted to Irvine, California-based Sans Wine & Spirits for its Honey Hole “honey flavored whiskey.”
Part of its argument left E Pike Honeyhole’s lawyer taking a swipe at the uniqueness of honey whiskey:
But the board found that Honeyhole’s restaurant business — and its cocktail list — met the requirements for “something more” beyond the similar names, disqualifying London’s business’s trademark application.
The “something more” standard in trademark arguments has been expanded by the courts in recent years meaning a general increase in findings of “relatedness of goods and services in a likelihood of confusion analysis.”
It’s not clear why Capitol Hill’s Honeyhole was seeking the trademark and we haven’t heard back yet from Sans Wine & Spirits about the situation. In some cases, businesses may receive cease and desist letters when another company believes its trademark is being infringed. In other instances of trademark applications, an entrepreneur might simply be locking down a key business element as a company grows or prepares for changes.
For now, it’s business as usual at Honeyhole where, for now, at least, there doesn’t appear to be any court challenges lined up over its slogan: “Damn, that’s a good sandwich.”
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