Greek House Chefs, Inc., which serves fraternities and sororities, alleged in a District of Kansas complaint filed on Friday that another food company also catering to Greek life, Fine Thyme Food LLC which does business as Best Fed Greeks, is infringing its trademark. The plaintiff claimed the company violated the Lanham Act, infringed its trademark, participated in unfair competition, and breached a written contract.
The plaintiff is an Iowa catering business that markets itself as a provider for fraternity and sorority groups. The company claims to be “the industry leader in custom food service for Fraternities and Sororities across the country,” and provides custom menus and event services. The defendant is reportedly a Kansas catering company, which began running Best Fed Greeks in 2019 to cater similar food. This caterer focuses on Greek dining for events at the University of Kansas, according to their Facebook page.
The complaint notes the Best Fed Greeks is not registered as a legal entity and does not have a trademark or trade dress for its logo. Their logo reportedly has similarities to the trade dress for Greek House Chefs, which is trademarked. The complaint said the company’s trademarks have been in use for over 10 years and have been used frequently in fraternity and sorority houses on 50 college campuses throughout 27 states.
Reportedly, the defendant has used the trademark “Greek House Chefs” in its social media advertising and has a similar market catering to college students. The company was accused of copying Greek House Chefs’ “ingenuity, advertising, and marks.” The company allegedly responded to a request from the plaintiff in March 2020 stating that they would stop using the trademark or similar marks, but by August 2020 resumed using the similar marks and dress. The complaint shows social media posts where the defendants used a hashtag for “greekhousechefs.”
Greek House Chefs alleged that the “defendant is using (Greek House Chefs’) mark, not only to advertise its own competing services, but also as a hashtag to redirect consumers’ internet search results from (the plaintiff’s) services to defendant’s services.”
The plaintiff, represented by Shank & Moore, LLC, demanded a jury trial, an award for damages, and a permanent injunction barring the defendants and Best Fed Greeks employees from using Greek House Chef’s marks.