On Wednesday, MomoIP LLC filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against Yuzu Kitchen LLC and its directors, Dong Chen and Haocheng Sun, alleging trademark infringement.
According to the complaint, MomoIP LLC. is a Delaware limited liability company and the holding company for the trademarks used by the Momofuku Group, a group of food and beverage businesses started in New York in 2004 by celebrity chef David Chang. The complaint states that Momofuku translates to “lucky peach,” and MomoIP has owned the common-law trademark rights to a “Lucky Peach” design for nearly 20 years.
Additionally, the complaint states that Momofuku has used the “Lucky Peach” in connection with its iconic restaurants throughout New York City and the greater United States and has gained national recognition and goodwill with the people of New York. Further, the complaint alleges that in addition to the plaintiffs strong common-law trademark rights, Momofuku also owns multiple federal trademark registrations for the “Lucky Peach” dating back to 2009.
The plaintiff alleges that despite Momofuku’s federally-registered trademark rights in the “Lucky Peach,” the defendants have been using a virtually identical imitation of “Lucky Peach” in violation of Momfuku’s trademark rights. The complaint purports that through the direction of defendants Chen and Sun, Yuzu Kitchen began using an infringing peach design in connection with a Manhattan-based Japanese restaurant.
MomoIP argues that the defendant’s infringing peach uses a color scheme that is nearly identical to that of the “Lucky Peach” and that Yuzu Kitchen prominently features the infringing peach standing alone or in various logos, often using lower-case black text next to the infringing peach in a manner that calls to mind Momofuku’s restaurants. Further, MomoIP argues that the defendants used the infringing mark with the intent to cause confusion among consumers and capitalize on that confusion and the goodwill associated with the “Lucky Peach.”
In an effort to protect its rights in the “Lucky Peach”, the plaintiff states that it sent the defendants cease-and-desist letters on February 17 and March 7. The complaint states that, as of the date of filing, Yuzu Kitchen has not responded to the cease-and-desist letters and continues its infringing conduct. The plaintiff argues that actual consumer confusion has already occurred, and Momofuku continues to be harmed by the defendants infringing conduct.
In the complaint, the plaintiff alleges federal trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, unfair competition under the Lanham Act, injury to business reputation and dilution and common law trademark infringement and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, punitive damages of at least $10,000, pre-and post-judgment interest not less than 9%, attorney’s fees and costs. The plaintiff is represented by Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.