Pop-up Bar Sued for Violating SpongeBob SquarePants’ Trademarks, Intellectual Property

Aug 17, 2021

Any restaurant, bar owner has to understand some business basics to function and thrive. Among the basic knowledge add an elementary understanding of intellectual property and trademarks.

First of all, do not infringe on other’s intellectual creations.

Intellectual property and trademark infringement can lead to costly lawsuits that small businesses may not be able to fight. Ultimately, it can destroy the restaurant or bar.

Infringing Viacom’s Intellectual Property

Here is a recent example. A downtown Houston pop-up bar is being sued by Viacom, the owners of SpongeBob SquarePants, for intellectual property and trademark infringement.  

“Ignorance of the law is not a defense.”

Attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta

The bar, called the Rusty Krab, advertises itself as a “Spongebob Squarepants-inspired experience”.

“Rusty Krab” is an obvious reference to Krusty Krab, the bar with the animated series. So not much creativity has taken place.

The Viacom lawsuit states that the tweaks to the characters used are not enough to distinguish the pop-up bar as an original creation and confuses clients with the officially branded merchandise owned by the media conglomerate. Moreover, the bar is trying to capitalize on the animated series’ success.

The bar is using the name “Rusty Krab” in its domain name, triggering cybersquatting allegations. Viacom’s lawyers note that SpongeBob branded licenses do not associate with alcoholic beverages since the trademark is for a children’s show.

The lawyers also noted this bar conducts business with poor cleanliness standards which are a detriment to the brand.

Ignoring the Law is not an Excuse

“Ignorance of the law is not a defense,” said Attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta. “This is an old maxim and it applies squarely in intellectual property cases. Before taking actions that even marginally could infringe with the property, tangible, intangible, intellectual, of somebody, you have the responsibility of making sure you are following the law”, said the attorney.

These kinds of lawsuits are expensive. Viacom is seeking $350,000 in compensation damages, any profits from restaurant sales, and a 10 percent royalty fee. Moreover, they are demanding the bar stops cease using any Spongebob imaginary, trademarks, and names associated with the show.

So far, the owner of the bar has not responded to the lawsuit. We can tell you that he needs an intellectual attorney, pronto. All these types of lawsuits are fought in Federal Court, so the bar owner needs heavy-duty help.

Attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta Can Help You

Whether is making sure you can use a name as your brand, filing trademarks nationally, representing clients in federal disputes, Attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta can help you. He was ample expertise in intellectual property, copyrights, and trademarks. Just give us a call to schedule a consultation at (480) 324-6378.

We also work globally and are able to represent companies all over the world.

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