Florida Restaurant Sues Competitor for Trademark Infringement

On Tuesday, Caribe Trademarks LLC filed a complaint in the Middle District of Florida against Stevina Food Company, LLC., Sun State Food King, Inc. and John Jackson for allegedly infringing the trademarked logo and likeness of their “Caribe Restaurant” logo.

The plaintiff, according to the complaint, owns a trademark for “CARIBE RESTAURANT,” which was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1979 by the restaurant’s original owner before being transferred to the current owner. Currently, the plaintiff owns six restaurants bearing this name. Due to their reputation and branding over the past 40 years, “Plaintiff owns valid and subsisting federal statutory and common law rights to Plaintiff’s Mark.” Furthermore, the plaintiff and the previous owner “expended substantial time, money, and resources continuously marketing, advertising, and promoting its café and restaurant services bearing Plaintiff’s Mark—thus creating valuable goodwill.”

In 2019, the defendants started using “CAFÉ CARIBE” for their restaurant which was approved by the Florida Department of State. The plaintiff argued that the defendant’s mark is “confusingly similar,” especially since both restaurants specialize in Cuban cuisine.

The plaintiff sent a cease and desist letter demanding that the defendants cease infringing upon the Caribe Mark, but they refused and continue to use the infringing trademark. Because of this, the plaintiff claimed that their goodwill has been damaged and will continue to be “irreparably damaged” unless the defendants are enjoined. Thus, the plaintiff is suing for violations of trademark infringement and counterfeiting under 15 U.S.C. Section 1114, a violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, common law mark infringement, common law unfair competition, and for the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The plaintiff is seeking a permanent injunction, damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

The plaintiff is represented by Sanchelima & Associates, P.A.