Restaurants Fight in Federal Court for the Trademark BLU SUSHI.

CHICAGO, April 29, 2009 -- A Florida-based sushi restaurant has filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against an Illinois restaurant to settle the issue of who owns the trademark BLU SUSHI.

Florida's Blu Sushi LLC brought the suit against the Illinois company Blu Coral Contemporary Sushi LLC, alleging infringement of the trademark BLU SUSHI.

Blu Sushi LLC claims to have starting using the mark BLU SUSHI in 2002 in connection with restaurant services. The records maintained by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) indicate that Blu Sushi LLC registered the mark BLUE SUSHI on September 20, 2004.

According to the pleading filed by Blu Sushi LLC, Illinois' Blu Coral Contemporary Sushi LLC opened a sushi restaurant in Chicago in 2006 called Blue Coral & Sushi Lounge before opening another restaurant in Evanston called Blu Sushi.

Generally speaking, the first party to use a trademark has the superior claim on ownership.

Blu Sushi LLC claims to have become aware of situation in Illinois in November, 2007, culminating in a cease and desist letter which went unanswered by the defendants. Because Blu Sushi LLC waiting almost 17 months to file suit, the defendants may have the defenses of laches and waiver.

In addition to a claim of trademark infringement, Blu Sushi LLC's complaint also contains counts for unfair competition and false advertising.

If Blu Sushi LLC is successful in proving infringement of the federally registered trademark, they could recover defendants' profits and any damages sustained by the plaintiff. In assessing damages the court may enter judgment for any sum above the amount found as actual damages, up to three times. When a court finds a defendant intentionally counterfeited a registered trademark, the court must, unless the court finds extenuating circumstances, enter judgment for three times such profits or damages, whichever is greater, together with a reasonable attorney’s fee unless the Plaintiff elects for statutory damages up to $1,000,000 per counterfeit mark per type of goods or services sold, offered for sale, or distributed.

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