peter-luger-steak-house

The Case of the Famous Luger Name

When it comes to the best steaks in the city of New York, there is no doubt that Peter Luger Steak House is the place to go to. In fact, it has been named as the best steak house in the city for 30 consecutive years already. This famous steak house is located in Brooklyn and has another location in Great Neck.

Needless to say, Peter Luger Steak House is already an institution, both in name and in its reputation. And just like any business owner, they did not appreciate the fact that a restaurant in Pennsylvania used the famous Luger name in a deliberate attempt to lure in customers.

A restaurant in Scranton, Pennsylvania called Carl von Luger Steak and Seafood, is now being sued by the owners of Peter Luger Steak House for trademark infringement. This is due to the fact that the Pennsylvania based restaurant employed the Luger name to run a similar business – a steak house. The original Luger restaurant is accusing them of enacting a deliberate campaign to confuse the consumers.

The owner of the Pennsylvania restaurant, Robert Dickert, received the trademark infringement suit and was already informed that the case was filed because he allegedly has the intent to make the consumers believe that Carl von Luger Steak and Seafood Restaurant is associated with the Michelin starred Peter Luger Steak House.

Peter Luger Steakhouse has been in the restaurant business since 1887 and is known for carrying a family tradition and sharing it with the consumers. It opened in Williamsburg carrying the name Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards, and Bowling Alley. It was owned by Peter Luger, while his nephew, Carl, was the one who manned the kitchen. The restaurant became a hit and quickly became a favorite in the neighborhood of Williamsburg.

They are famous for their dry aged steaks, especially their porterhouse, as well as other great items on their menu, including the daily luncheon specials. Since 1979 until today, Zagat Survey has named them as NYC’s number one steak house  for their classic and straightforward menu, terrific aged porterhouse, and great ambiance.

They have also received great reviews and ratings from Michelin NYC Restaurants, USA Today Travel, New York Times, Fortune Magazine, Gourmet Magazine, Bon Apetit, and many more.

With their great standing and excellent reviews, Peter Luger Steak House believes that Dickert made up the name Carl von Luger, so that his restaurant can piggyback off their reputation. The lawsuit that they submitted also stated that Dickert has sown confusion among the consumers not only by using the Luger brand, but also by marketing his restaurant using the words “age old family tradition” as well as indicating “since 1887” in its marketing materials and logo, including the website.

If you try to visit their website, the controversial words indicated above are boldly and deliberately positioned under the restaurant’s name. The words “since 1887” is actually contradicting because Dickert’s restaurant in Pennsylvania opened only in 2011, that is why the original Luger is believed to have a strong basis for the case.

According to Michael Elkin of Winston & Strawn, which is the firm representing Peter Luger, Carl von Luger is acting like an impostor of the original Luger steak house and  that the former is ripping off the latter’s intellectual property and reputation. Elkin also said that the case “is an egregious example of the misappropriation of the Peter Luger name and reputation and we intend to defend our claim vigorously.”

Aside from the infamous restaurant in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Dickert also plans to expand the Carl von Luger restaurant and open another branch in North Palm Beach, Florida. When the news was published, the local press dubbed Dickert’s restaurant as “an offshoot of Peter Luger of NY.”

Additionally, because of the local press coverage, owners of the Peter Luger Steak House said that they have been receiving and dealing with inquiries since the article’s publication. The inquiries were mainly about whether they were expanding into Florida, where a lot of their customers have primary residences.

The lawsuit also states that “Defendants’ infringement and false advertising has already engendered a good deal of confusion in the marketplace and will continue to do so unless stopped.” So, basically, what the owners of Peter Luger Steak House want is for Dickert to stop using the Carl von Luger name so that confusion among their consumers will stop as well. Aside from that, the New York based steak house also seeks for Dickert to pay unspecified damages.

Category: General Food

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