Friday, November 4, 2011

Firehouse Subs Trademark Lawsuit

S.C. firefighter wins Firehouse Subs trademark lawsuit

Brothers Robin Sorensen (right) and Chris Sorensen, Firehouse Subs' founders, pose in a restaurant in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2005. Associated Press file photo
Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 9:08 a.m.
A three-year legal battle between the Firehouse Subs restaurant chain and Horry County firefighter Heath Scurfield has ended with a federal jury ruling that Scurfield's Calli Baker's Firehouse Bar & Grill in the Briarcliffe Acres area does not infringe on the sandwich maker's trademark.
The jury unanimously ruled on the trademark infringement claim last week in a Florence courtroom.
The jury also ruled that Firehouse Restaurant Group Inc. -- the parent company to Firehouse Subs -- fraudulently trademarked the word "firehouse" for its exclusive use in the food-service industry. The jury agreed that Firehouse Subs knowingly falsified its 2003 trademark application by stating that no other business had the right to use the word "firehouse" even though the chain was aware of numerous pre-existing restaurants that used the word "firehouse" in their names.

Judge Bryan Harwell cancelled the restaurant chain's trademark in a court order filed Monday. Harwell also ordered Firehouse Subs to pay all of Scurfield's legal costs.  Don Fox, chief executive of Firehouse Restaurant Group, said the company will appeal the verdict on the fraud ruling.
"We vehemently disagree with that fraud claim," Fox said. "We don't feel like there was any evidence to support that."

Fox said the restaurant chain will not appeal the jury's verdict on the trademark infringement claim.
"We respect the jury's decision and Heath will be able to operate as he has been," Fox said. "We have no problem with that and we wish him well."


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