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Trademark Law

Seyfarth Lawyer Warns Take-Out Stand About ‘Lizard-Like’ Monsters

Posted Aug 9, 2010 10:36 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Lawyers for a Japanese company are warning a Maine food stand named Grill Zilla BBQ that it needs to drop its big, green mascot attired in a red apron.

Grill Zilla BBQ operates out of old Frito-Lay delivery truck, the Kennebec Journal reports. So far its owners aren’t budging.

The cease-and-desist letter written by lawyer Jill Jacobs of Seyfarth Shaw says the take-out eatery should lose the lizard and stop using the name Grill Zilla in connection with any “lizard-like” monsters that evoke Godzilla, the story says. Seyfarth represents the Japanese company Toho Co. Ltd., which owns the rights to the movie monster.

The eatery should also make sure it doesn’t use “a colossal character; in a cityscape with the character crushing or stomping on the city, buildings, cars, people, etc.; in any other setting where the character destroys cities, villages, or mountains; where the character breathes atomic fire; or where the character emerges from the ocean, water, etc."

“She's probably getting paid by the word,” one of Grill Zilla’s owners, Jay Swett, tells the newspaper.

After some negotiations, Jacobs said the restaurant could keep either the logo or the name, but not both. Yet Swett and his wife haven’t made any changes. But Godzilla apparently means business, the story says, and "Grill Zilla should be worried. Very worried."

The story notes that Seyfarth Shaw also pursued Subway for using a clip of a dinosaur and skyscrapers, a winery that sold “Cabzilla,” and a rock band called “A------ Godzilla.”

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