What is it with Mexican restaurants and trademark infringements this week? On Tuesday we posted about a Mexican restaurant SOL Cocina suing a bar called SOL Kitchen, and two days later: another Mexican restaurant is suing for trademark infringement. In Houston, Texas two restaurants are fighting over the word “gringo”.
“Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen”, a Houston-based chain with ten locations scattered across the area, has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against “Habanera And The Gringo”, an independently-owned restaurant.
At stake is the use of the word “gringo” in Spanish-speaking countries and contexts this is a person, especially an American, who is not Hispanic or Latino. Literally “gringo” means “foreigner” in Spanish.
Habanera And The Gringo owners received a letter from Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen demanding that they drop the “gringo” reference from their name or face litigation.
At first sight, it seems the restaurants have a sufficiently different name, that is unlikely to cause confusing. And can anyone really monopolise the word “gringo”, especially used in the context in which both parties use it? That’s highly doubtful. At least Habanera And The Gringo don’t think so; they plan to fight the lawsuit.
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