I remember the Friendly’s restaurant chain when we lived in Columbia, Maryland, back in the days when I clerked for a Senior Judge on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., so at my first sighting of the about-to-open Freddy’s restaurant location in Maple, Grove, Minnesota (shown above), it brought memories of Friendly’s to mind:
Beyond the similarities as to sound, appearance, and cadence of the names, the graphic design of the cursive logos, the possessive forms, the color schemes, and trade dress, they seem to have a similar menu focus too:
Yet, they appear to peacefully coexist on the Principal Register at the USPTO (Friendly’s and Freddy’s), and it further appears from the location maps for each restaurant chain (Friendly’s v. Freddy’s) that there are some areas of geographic overlap too, although I haven’t studied the maps closely enough to determine how many miles separate the actual locations within a particular state.
Now, I’m not suggesting a brand manager or trademark counsel go all out crazy here — Freddy-Krueger-style, but I’ve also seen far worse cases pursued too.
What do you think, is there a plausible case of likelihood of confusion here, or would this be another example of trademark bullying?
Do you suppose these growing chains will ever bump into each other, and if so, will there be polite exchanges of, “excuse me” — is there any possibility of real friendship in their futures?