13 November 2017Trademarks

Dunkin’ Donuts case dismissed after settlement reached with franchisee

The US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana has ordered that a case between Dunkin’ Donuts and a franchisee be dismissed after a settlement was reached.

The order of dismissal (pdf) was signed by District Judge Elizabeth Foote on Thursday, November 9.

She ordered the dismissal without prejudice within 90 days, but said the case could be reopened if the settlement “is not consummated”.

The dispute was brought to court by Dunkin’ Donuts in September, with the company accusing the franchisee of failing to meet the payments agreed when the licence to use Dunkin’ Donuts’ trademarks was taken out.

Dunkin’ Donuts stated that in July, it informed the franchisee it was in default of its payments, and despite the defendants (who operated the franchise together) issuing payment, “it was not honoured by their bank, based on insufficient funds”.

The defendants then allegedly continued to use the trademarks of Dunkin’ Donuts despite the contract being terminated.

The exact terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Dunkin’ Donuts had requested declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, damages and attorneys’ fees.

Dunkin’ Donuts is no stranger to IP disputes with former franchisees, having sued a former Florida licensee in October.

Dunkin’ Donuts accused the licensee of continuing to use its trademarks despite defaulting on payments  in three stores across Florida.

A month previously, ice cream truck franchisor Mister Softee reached a settlement with former licensee Carl Gallucci.

The case was voluntarily dismissed after an injunction was handed down in August ordering Gallucci to immediately stop using ‘Mister Softee’ trademarks and provide a report to Mister Softee to prove he had done so.

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More on this story

13 October 2017   Donut company and coffee house Dunkin’ Donuts has taken action against a former Florida-based licensee that has continued operating three stores despite its licence being revoked.
18 July 2017   Mister Softee has sued a former licensee, accusing him of infringing trademark rights by operating an ice cream stand.