New Jersey suit over Florida pizza shop logo tossed
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Turnpike Authority's lawsuit against a Florida pizza shop for using a logo similar to the Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs has been tossed.
Federal Judge William Martini granted the Jersey Boardwalk Pizza shop's request to dismiss the suit Thursday, saying that the shop doesn't have enough contact with the state for New Jersey to bring the lawsuit here.
In his written ruling, he also said the company hasn't conducted business with residents in New Jersey other than branded merchandise that he says were arguably only purchased because of the publicity surrounding the lawsuit.
Turnpike Authority spokesman Thomas Feeney said the state is continuing to fight the company before the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. He said it is also considering its options regarding the judge's decision, including whether to refile the suit in another federal court.
The agency sued Jersey Boardwalk Pizza in July over the logo it uses for its two Florida pizza shops, in Tavernier and Homestead, and on merchandise sold online. It said the company was trying to trade upon the fame of the Garden State Parkway logo to attract customers and potential franchisees.
It said the Garden State Parkway is one of the most well-known highways in the country and "there is no question" the logos "were directly copied and appropriated.
The parkway's circular logo features a green map of the state with the highway in yellow and the words "Garden State Parkway" in yellow. The Jersey Boardwalk Pizza logo is similar in color and design.
The lawsuit asked that the company be required to stop using the logo and to destroy any merchandise that includes it.
The company said in court filings that the Garden State Parkway sign is merely a road sign and that "no reasonably informed customer is actually going to be duped or even confused into thinking" the pizza business was connected or endorsed by the Turnpike Authority.
The company uses a logo for its pizza business and a slightly different one for its franchising business. JoyAnn Kenny, a lawyer for the company, said the logo for the restaurants was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and has been used since April 2011.