One of 2015's most anticipated openings has hit a minor hiccup. Fat Noodle, the fast-casual Chinese concept by three-Michelin starred chef Joshua Skenes, is being sued by San Francisco chainlet Chubby Noodle, arguing trademark infringement over the "confusingly similar" names. According to the suit filed on January 22, obtained by ISSF, Chubby Noodle's founders are seeking damages for "unfair competition" and willfully "dilut[ing] the distinctiveness and/or tarnish the image of the Noodles Raw Catering Chubby Noodle [trade]mark." The suit also points out the similarities between the two logo designs, both of which feature a black bowl and the word "noodle."
In a canned statement provided to ISSF, Skenes — who's teaming with Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman for the concept — calls the claims "without merit." Skenes' statement alleges the Fat Noodle trademark was accepted in October 2012, and that Fat Noodle and Chubby Noodle's lawyers were in contact in October 2014. "We thought the matter was resolved to our satisfaction back in October," he writes, "as neither we nor our counsel have heard a peep since then from Chubby Noodle or its counsel." Chubby Noodle operates two restaurants in the SF area, and the Fat Noodle Group counters that the chainlet is "trying to use our good name and press to enhance their own."
In November 2014, Skenes told Eater he'd been working on the Fat Noodle concept — which will offer Szechuan and Shaanx dishes at a moderate price point — since 2007. ("It's just about having decent, good products, prepared deliciously," Skenes said at the time. According to its most recent update, Fat Noodle was planning to debut sometime later this year.