Jersey Boardwalk Pizza —which is located nowhere near New Jersey or a boardwalk — defeated the New Jersey Turnkpike Authority in court today. According to Fox News, the Turnpike Authority tried to sue the pizzeria over its logo, which is incredibly similar to signs used by the government agency. They both feature a green map of the state of New Jersey on a yellow background with text in a similar placement.
The Turnpike Authority filed a lawsuit against the restaurant last November over the use of the logo at its two Floridian pizza shops, and on its merchandise online. The agency accused the restaurant of "trying to trade upon the game of the Garden State Parkway logo to attract customers and potential franchisees." Jersey Boardwalk Pizza argued, however, that "no reasonably informed customer is actually going to be duped or even confused into thinking" the restaurant was associated with or endorsed by the Turnpike Authority.
A federal judge agreed, and dismissed the suit yesterday, ruling that the restaurant doesn't really have much contact with residents of New Jersey. In official court documents, the judge notes, "Although Plaintiff may have felt the brunt of harm in New Jersey, it could not be said that New Jersey is the focal point of the offending activity... Florida is the focus of the activity. The spread of the allegedly infringing mark via merchandise sales on the internet is random and fortuitous."
Jersey Boardwalk Pizza isn't the first restaurant to go to court over their logo. In 2013, Starbucks sued a "small-time Bangkok coffee stand" called Starbung, over its name and similar logo. Chef Joshua Skenes (Saison, San Francisco) was also hit with a lawsuit over the logo of his new fast-casual Chinese concept Fat Noodle. San Francisco chainlet Chubby Noodle argued that Fat Noodle's logo and name was too similar to its own and would be confusing for customers.