Friday, September 17, 2010

IHOP (Restaurant) Suing IHOP (HouseOfPrayer)

Well, it’s FINALLY happened!!  I just can’t believe it took this long!
International House of Pancakes (AP) 
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CBS/AP) The International House of Pancakes, known for its bevy of breakfast delights, is suing a different IHOP, the International House of Prayer, claiming the church is taking advantage of the restaurant chain’s famous name and acronym. 
The flapjack lovers’ IHOP, based in Glendale, Calif., served up the lawsuit to the Kansas City-based house of prayer last week in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The original IHOP, which trademarked the initials in 1973, cites infringement and trademark dilution as the grounds for their lawsuit, reports The Kansas City Star.  
Although the two IHOPs have very little in common, the restaurant’s spokesman Patrick Lenow claims the acronym infringement is becoming a problem because the church is expanding and some branches are serving food. 
Lenow told The Kansas City Star they decided to formerly press charges because the church refused repeated requests to stop using the trademark. 
“We are compelled to protect the 350 small-business owners who own IHOP franchises and the IHOP good name that’s been around for 52 years,” Lenow told the paper. 
Gary Hecker, a well-known intellectual rights attorney in Los Angeles, sides with Lenow and told The Kansas City Star that he believes the courts will side with the restaurant chains because the prominence of the acronym may give IHOP the “right to protect itself even well outside the scope of selling pancakes.” 
However, Gary Hooper, a former Houston attorney who until recently served as the church mission’s chief financial officer, said he didn’t think the lawsuit had any legal basis. 
There’s at least one IHOP that doesn’t serve pancakes.
The International House of Pancakes, known as IHOP, has filed a lawsuit  against the International House of Prayer, accusing accused the church of selecting its name knowing it would be abbreviated IHOP.
The organization “intended to misappropriate the fame and notoriety of the household name IHOP to help promote and make recognizable their religious organization,” the lawsuit says.
According to Restaurant spokesman Patrick Lenow, the church has even expanded and some branches are now serving food.
The restaurant chain says it sued only after the International House of Prayer rebuffed continual requests to discontinue use of the IHOP acronym.
The International House of Pancakes says it has used the acronym for more than 30 years and contends that the religious organization’s use infringes on the restaurant’s trademark.
As of Thursday, representatives from the international House of Prayer had not filed a response to the lawsuit, according to court documents.