A Tale of Two Pierogis

Festival trademark battle is at the center of a federal lawsuit
Pierogi Fest Lawsuit
Jim Karczewski / Post-Tribune

Conley's Pierogis at the Pierogi Festival in Whiting.

Two festivals focused on celebrating pierogis and Polish culture, including Whiting's Pierogi Fest, are at the center of a federal case filed Monday in Pennsylvania over the names of the events.

Tom Dabertin, the chairman of Pierogi Fest in Whiting, said he just wants to protect Pierogi Fest's trademark.

"If you don't protect your trademark when others use it, you lose it," he said. "We have to do this to protect our trademark."

But attorneys representing the Edwardsville Hometown Committee, which runs Edwardsville Pierogi Festival in Pennsylvania, argues it has not infringed on Pierogi Fest's trademark.

"What's important is we're protecting the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival and our right to call it by its name," said James Haggerty, one of the attorneys for the committee.

The suit was filed after the committee received two letters from the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce, which runs Pierogi Fest, "threatening to sue the Hometown Committee for infringing on the federal trademark 'Pierogi Fest,' which the defendant owns," according to the complaint.

The first letter, dated May 13, 2015, claims that Edwardsville Pierogi Festival's "services directly compete with the Chamber's festival services" and "is likely to cause consumer confusion."

The chamber asked that the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival "cease all use of the infringing Pierogi Fest mark," according to the letter.The second letter, dated June 9 of this year, makes the same claims and adds, "Importantly, your sponsors can be found liable for use of the trademark as well as touting the festival to your benefit."

"That said, the Chamber is open to discussing with you the opportunity for licensing of its trademark," the letter states. "...It is our hope that this matter can be resolved amicably. We will therefore refrain from filing a complaint in federal court in order to give you an opportunity to resolve this matter."

Continue reading the story in the Chicago Tribune.

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