The Battle of the Breastaurants: “Twin Peaks v. Grand Tetons”
The owners of Dallas-based Twin Peaks Restaurant have sued an Arkansas-based competitor named Northern Exposure Restaurant (which is incorporated under the name Grand Tetons) for copying its concept. Both restaurants rely on sexy waitresses to sell food and drinks to a mostly-male clientele. And both restaurants have a similar lodge-like style.
Twin Peaks alleges claims of infringement of trademark and trade dress.
For its claims of trade dress infringement, Twin Peaks essentially complains that Northern Exposure stole its look and feel.
To prevail on a claim of trade dress infringement, Twin Peaks must prove the trade dress at issue is inherently distinctive or has secondary meaning, and is primarily nonfunctional. Twin Peaks must also convince the trier of fact that the Northern Exposure’s trade dress is confusingly similar.
But a lodge-like style restaurant may be too generic to be protected by trade dress. More important the predominant feature of the Twin Peaks’ trade dress is its Twin Peaks’ waitress uniform. Scantily clad waitresses serving up food and sex appeal, however, are not part of a restaurant’s trade dress. This issue was decided the in Hooters v. Winghouse and affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit:
. . . Hooters has admitted that the Hooters Girl’s predominant function is to provide vicarious sexual recreation, to titillate, entice, and arouse male customers’ fantasies. She is the very essence of Hooters’ business. This essential functionality disqualifies the Hooters Girl from trade dress protection.
If the Hooters’ uniform did not deserve trademark protection because it was functional, surely the Twin Peaks uniform doesn’t.
There are of course other elements of Twin Peaks’ trade dress that need to be analyzed as the proper focus for the trade dress claim. The claim is based on the overall appearance of the breastaurants. There are no photographs, however, of the Northern Exposure waitresses or the inside of the breastaurant on the internet. Some on-site research and discovery will be necessary. Siouxsie will sit this one out, but is willing to bet that there are likely scores of attorneys willing to assist either of the parties at a massively discounted rate.
A copy of the complaint can be found at this link.
Source: Dallas Observer