Trademark News & Screw-ups Summerfest sues Red Lobster for trademark infringement in slogan

If you're wondering what kind of supercreative slogan Red Lobster "borrowed" from Summerfest, it's "Lobster and Shrimp Summerfest." To call it a slogan is going a bit too far, but apparently, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. has owned the SUMMERFEST trademark for "arranging and conducting an annual summer entertainment festival" since 1972. The question here is whether the trademark is still enforceable, given that a Google search for SUMMERFEST returns over 5 million results, most of which have nothing to do with Milwaukee and its annual festival. What could have been a distinguishing name back in the 1970s might have become generic by 2017. Unless Red Lobster didn't think this through at all, they probably thought that they'd be able to get Milwaukee World Festival off their back in exchange for the promise not to attack the validity of the festival's trademark. Now that the lawsuit is brought against Red Lobster, we'll have to wait and see how things develop.

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