Update 11/19/12: The long fought trademark case of local restaurant Cali Baker's v Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc. (Firehouse Subs) seems to finally be over.
This past summer a joint motion to vacate and set aside final judgment regarding the case. The ongoing settlement discussions in the Appeals process by the parties attorneys' and pressure from an undisclosed third party Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc. and Calli Baker’s Firehouse Bar & Grill reached an agreement to resolve the matter.
Federal District Court Judge R. Byran Harwell ordered an Indicative ruling which led to a motion being granted August 3rd, 2012 to “Vacate” the fraud jury verdict for Firehouse Subs. The Court of Appeals process negotiated a mutual settlement which at this time the monetary settlement figure and terms are undisclosed.
In short, Firehouse Subs will lose the trademark due this case and them not renewing the trademark. However, the verdict of fraud the jury will be “Vacated”.
This case opens up a whole other can of worms for Firehouse Subs in that in the past they have sued and won trademark cases on the name "Firehouse" when used as a restaurant name. According to the press release, "the fate of some 35+ other Trademarks of “Firehouse Subs” are also purportedly hanging in the balance as our sources likewise relate that there are yet legal actions forthcoming which will demand the review of the Officials at the USPTO and Statutorily obligate “Cancellation”. Such other Trademarks' mentioned concern legally invalid and/or ill-gotten Trademarks of Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc."
So, the little guys wins! Read the whole press release here.
Update 10/23/11: Federal Judge has denyed Firehouse Subs their request for a new trial regarding the sub shops trademark claim on the use of 'Firehouse' for a restaurant.
For the full courtroom update head on over to The Sun News for their write-up.
Update 8/31: This past Tuesday, Cali Baker's owner Heath Scurfield filed court documents for Firehouse Subs to reimburse all his legal fees accrued while fighting the sandwich making giant.
Additionally, it should come to no ones surprise that Firehouse Subs is seeking a new trial and if denied the case could move on to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. For all the new details of this case hop on over to The Sun News.
First Report 8/23: After a three year legal battle Firehouse Subs loses trademark suit to Horry County Firefighter's restaurant Cali Baker's Firehouse Bar & Grill.
Cali Baker's has had a home along restaurant row since the early 1990's. Before their current location in front of Myrtle Beach Mall, Cali Baker's called Lake Arrowhead Road home. Since their move to the new location Cali Baker's has been fighting in a legal battle over the use of the word 'firehouse' with national sandwich chain, Firehouse Subs.
A statement from Cali Baker's owner, Heath Scurfield on their original website in part says,
On March 16, 2009, The Firehouse Restaurant Group filed suit against me in federal court. While Firehouse Restaurant Group has done many great things for members of the fire service across the country, it is my opinion that they do not have exclusive ownership of the word “firehouse,” or the fire department theme.
Last week a jury in a Florence courtroom unanimously sided against Firehouse Subs in favor of the little guy, Cali Baker's Firehouse Bar & Grill. The presiding judge on the case removed Firehouse Subs' trademark claim due to fraud and has ruled that Firehouse Subs must pay all of the legal fees that Scurfield have accumulated due to this case.
Head on over to The Sun News to read the full wirte-up, including Firehouse Subs' response to the ruling.