C-store Chains Sue to Protect Their Trademarks

NEW YORK and HOUSTON — Two convenience store chains are suing for trademark infringement due to allegedly copycat logos.

7-Eleven Inc. is suing two different bodegas in Brooklyn, N.Y., that the retailer claims copied its logo and red, orange, green and white sign, reported the New York Post. Eleven 7 Food Mart is located on Coney Island Avenue in Kensington, while Z-Eleven is located on Henry Street in Red Hook.

Both stores' signs closely resemble 7-Eleven's trademarked logo and sign and are "likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive customers," wrote a lawyer for 7-Eleven in court papers filed in Brooklyn federal court.

The bodegas continue to use the names and signs despite being served with cease and desist notices prior to the lawsuit. 7-Eleven is suing for unspecified damages.

Buc-ee's Ltd. sued Harlow Foods Inc., operator of the combined c-store and barbecue restaurant Choke Canyon Travel Center located in Atascosa, Texas, reported AATAC.com. Buc-ee's alleges trademark infringement and unfair competition based on Choke Canyon logo and other trade dress that are "confusingly similar" to the c-store chain's beaver logo and other trademarks, according to court documents.

Choke Canyon's logo consists of a smiling alligator wearing a hat on a circle while Buc-ee's logo consists of a smiling bucktoothed beaver wearing a hat on a circle. Buc-ee's lawsuit claims that the infringement extends to the shape and general appearance of its retail outlets, including the decor, menu and other features reflecting on the chain's overall image that make its stores "immediately identifiable and unique."

Additionally, Choke Canyon's logo and store design "are creating, and will continue to cause, confusion in the marketplace and dilution of plaintiff's intellectual property because their infringing store design copies the overall look and feel of Buc-ee's stores," wrote a Buc-ee's lawyer in documents filed late last year in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston.

The lawsuit states that use of similar trade dress will cause customers to mistake Choke Canyon's goods and services for those of Buc-ee's. Buc-ee's logo appears on a wide variety of food, beverages, snacks, paper goods, clothing and other products. Court documents included examples of Choke Canyon's logo on similar merchandise. Other alleged infringement includes similarities in building and store size, design, layout and materials; colors and signage schemes; oversized bathrooms; fountain drink setup; and more.

Lake Jackson, Texas-based Buc-ee's has nearly 30 c-stores in Texas while Choke Canyon has three locations in the San Antonio area. Buc-ee's is suing for treble damages or profits, attorneys' fees and costs.

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