We recently checked out a new restaurant in Minneapolis’ growing North Loop area, called Red Rabbit, what a great spot:
The menu cleverly refers to the salad options as “Rabbit Food” — and the Italian Chopped salad spoke to me, but one of the listed “ingredients” left me wondering “what’s a peppadew”?
Not wanting to be too surprised before committing, as I was only somewhat prepared to compromise on the inclusion of “artichoke,” I took matters into my own hands.
And, believe me, at the moment, I wasn’t looking for a trademark story, but there is was, staring back at me on my iPhone.
In fact, Google said Wikipedia knows that “Peppadew is the trademarked brand name of sweet piquanté peppers (a cultivar of Capsicum baccatum) grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa.” With peppers, I’m all in (should help mask the artichoke), so I committed.
But, back to the trademark story, turns out, the USPTO agreed with Wikipedia (despite the lower case lettering on the menu), Peppadew is a federally-registered brand name for “preserved, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables,” not some generic type of food ingredient:
Yet, if the South African brand owner wants to keep it that way, and avoid complete loss of trademark rights through genericide, it really ought to educate and police restaurants on proper trademark use.
Or, maybe it is already doing so (Panera is reportedly on board), so perhaps Red Rabbit just hasn’t seen the memo yet, or maybe it’s being delivered by a tortoise, not a hare?
At any rate of speed, this kind of genericness evidence can be harmful to a trademark owner, so how hard should a restaurant work to get the trademark facts right in their menus?
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the salad was truly amazing (despite the artichoke), and I’m sure the Peppadew brand peppers made all the difference.