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3 January 2018Trademarks

IHOP sues former franchisee over trademark infringement

Restaurant chain International House of Pancakes (IHOP) has accused US-based Moeini Corporation of trademark infringement and breach of contract.

IHOP Restaurants and IHOP Franchisor filed the claim at the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama on Friday, December 29, 2017.

The claim said that Moeini Corporation, based in Alabama but which primarily does business in Florida, was unable to honour franchise agreements and, in 2017, failed consecutive operational evaluations.

This, coupled with the failure of food safety and sanitation evaluations carried out by a third party, resulted in the franchise agreements being terminated after Moeini Corporation neglected to amend concerns, the claim added.

“Despite defendant’s clear contractual obligation to stop operating its restaurants and cease using IHOP’s trademarks following termination, defendant continues to wrongfully operate the restaurants under the IHOP marks and wrongfully profit from IHOP’s marks, goodwill, and system,” said the claim.

Moeini Corporation was obliged to adhere to the restaurant’s standard procedures, policies, rules and regulations under each of the franchise agreements.

“Defendant has also blocked IHOP and third-party inspectors from evaluating the restaurants—denying IHOP the crucial ability to control the use of the marks,” continued the claim.

IHOP is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting Moeini Corporation’s unlawful use of IHOP’s marks.

IHOP was founded in 1958 and, as of 2015, had locations in all 50 states of the US, as well as the District of Columbia, Bahrain, Canada, Dubai, Guatemala, Kuwait, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, The Philippines and the US Virgin Islands, according to the company’s website.

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