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We’re All Winners in the Trademark Battle Over Heart Attack Sandwiches

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2nd Avenue Deli in New York

2nd Avenue Deli in New York

A federal judge in New York has decided on the trademark battle over heart attack sandwiches—and it seems there are plenty of coronary culinary appellations to go around.

Last year, we told you about the cease-and-desist letter sent to the 2nd Avenue Deli in New York from the Heart Attack Grill in Arizona (the Arizona location of the Heart Attack Grill has since closed, and there is now one in Las Vegas). The Heart Attack Grill threatened a lawsuit for alleged trademark infringement over its name as well as over the “Triple Bypass Burger.” In response the 2nd Avenue Deli, an East Village institution serving kosher eats since 1954, filed a complaint (PDF) for declaratory judgment asking the Southern District of New York to declare that there has been no such infringement.

As we told you back then:

The Facts:

  • The 2nd Avenue Deli offers the “Instant Heart Attack Sandwich:” two latkes (potato pancakes) serve as the bun and stacked inside is the customer’s choice of pastrami, turkey, salami, or corned beef.
  • The Heart Attack Grill is a “medically-themed restaurant” in Arizona that “proudly serves unhealthy and overly calorific fare such as hamburgers, fries cooked in lard, and milkshakes,” including the Triple Bypass Burger.
  • The Grill’s letter threatened suit against the Deli for alleged infringement of the Heart Attack Grill’s trademarks “Heart Attack Grill” and “Triple Bypass Burger.” (Second Avenue also plans to introduce a “Triple Bypass Sandwich” that will feature the addition of another potato pancake.)

Now, U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer has ruled that the New York deli is within its rights to sell and promote the Instant Heart Attack Sandwich; the Triple Bypass Sandwich, on the other hand, can be sold on the menu but not promoted on the Internet and elsewhere.

Looking to the future, the judge recommended that the parties “eschew provocative cease-and-desist letters or precipitous lawsuits, and instead to work together to try to resolve their differences cooperatively” should other disputes arise.

But who are the biggest winners of all?

Why, consumers of course, who can continue to eat heart attack-inducing burgers on both coasts!

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July 14th, 2012 at 8:39 am