LaMonica Fine Foods sued two fishing and oyster companies for violations of the Lanham Act in a District of New Jersey trademark complaint filed on Friday. The company claimed that the Cape May trademark had previously been in dispute, and that, despite a settlement agreement in a previous federal trademark lawsuit, the defendants continued to infringe the mark and “forced” the plaintiffs to go back to the court system for relief.
The defendants, Cape May Salt Oyster Company, LLC (CMSOC) and Atlantic Capes Fisheries, Inc., are both New Jersey corporations. CMSOC allegedly filed a trademark application for Cape May in 2018, which the plaintiff objected to since it owned a trademark on the words.
The plaintiff said it owns a company entitled Cape May Foods, which has been using the trademark “Cape May” to identify its goods since 1992. The company sells seafood products under the mark, which was declared to be incontestable in November 2017. They claimed that the president of Atlantic contacted LaMonica in 2014 and asked for a license to use their mark, but when an agreement was not made the company used the mark in its new company name, CMSOC, regardless.
The defendants are accused of using the trademarked words, Cape May, on their website and on merchandise. The plaintiff said CMSOC sells various oysters, only one of which is Cape May Salts oysters.
Friday’s complaint said the defendants have continued to use the phrase in their website domain’s url and have not dissolved or ended the CMSOC entity. The plaintiff said it informed the defendants of their breach of the settlement agreement in May of this year, and asked for them to stop infringing the mark within ten business days, but no changes were made.
LaMonica Fine Foods, represented by Archer & Greiner, filed allegations of breach of contract, “breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” trademark infringement, false designation of origin, false description, unfair competition, and breaches of New Jersey competition laws.