Southern California Eatery Sues Postmates for Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition

Plaintiff Lucky Boy Hamburgers, Inc. (Lucky Boy) sued Postmates Inc. on Wednesday over the third-party courier service’s ostensible refusal to cease its unauthorized use of Lucky Boy’s registered trademark on its online platform. The Central District of California complaint seeks injunctive relief and damages.

According to the filing, family-owned Lucky Boy was founded in 1960 and since then it has used two trademarks in connection with its restaurant services. It explains that Postmates, like its rivals DoorDash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub, enables its customers to order food online that a driver collects from a restaurant and delivers to their door. Postmates purportedly generates its revenue by charging delivery service fees to both the customer and the eating establishment.

The complaint also noted that Postmates “does not comply with Food Code requirements and its drivers do not possess the appropriate licenses and permits required to safely handle food on behalf of consumers.” In addition, public reports have allegedly documented delivery service apps’ poor service, improper food handling, and even accounts of drivers eating customers’ food orders.

The complaint stated that Lucky Boy has no desire to be affiliated with Postmates, and in response, Postmates has reportedly penalized Lucky Boy by deliberately diverting business away from it. In particular, Postmates allegedly continues to use Lucky Boy’s marks on its online platform. For example, when conducting a Google search for “postmates lucky boy,” the second search result reads, “Lucky Boy Delivery – Order Online – Pasadena… Postmates.”

Friday’s filing also explained that when searching for Lucky Boy on the defendant’s mobile app, the eatery sometimes appears as “closed.” It claimed that the “closed” designation is false and causes customers to order from other restaurants. Finally, Postmates’ Lucky Boy menu reportedly bears incorrect information including lower prices, which causes issues for the restaurant with customers who complain about the misalignment.

Allegedly, the restaurant has repeatedly contacted Postmates requesting that references to Lucky Boy be removed from its platform, but Postmates has failed to comply. The plaintiff asserted that Postmates is using “fraudulent, oppressive, and malicious,” business practices in an attempt to coerce it into signing up for the delivery service. Lucky Boy’s complaint raised eight counts of federal, state, and common law trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Notably, last September, a class action complaint filed against DoorDash made comparable allegations and sought to certify a class of similarly situated restaurants. On Jan. 8, Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson denied DoorDash’s motion to dismiss. 

Lucky Boy is represented by Cislo & Thomas LLP.