Indianapolis, Indiana –Boiling Crab Franchise Co., LLC (“The Boiling Crab”), the Plaintiff, filed two separate complaints for trademark infringement and unfair competition alleging similar facts. The first complaint was filed against Defendant The Mad Crab LLC d/b/a The Boiling Crab, Crawfish & Shrimp (“The Mad Crab”). The second complaint was filed against CC Food Enterprise LLC and KC Groups Inc. (collectively “The Boiling Seafood”). According to the complaints, The Boiling Crab owns four relevant U.S. trademarks for “The Boiling Crab” in various styles with Registration Nos. 3,256,219, 4,174,077, 4,491,054, and 5,374,534.
The Boiling Crab franchise, started in California in 2004, has allegedly grown to include locations throughout California and at least four other states. According to the complaints, the Louisiana-style seafood served by The Boiling Crab and the distinctive restaurant décor and menus create a one-of-a-kind dining experience. The Boiling Crab also claims unique trade dress rights in the look and feel of its restaurants.
The Mad Crab allegedly operates a restaurant in Indianapolis, Indiana called “The Boiling Crab Crawfish & Shrimp.” The Boiling Seafood allegedly also operates a restaurant in Indianapolis, Indiana called “The Boiling Seafood.” The complaint against The Boiling Seafood further claims that The Boiling Seafood had previously operated a restaurant called “The Boiling Crawfish, Crab, Lobster & Bar,” but closed the establishment after receiving a cease and desist letter from The Boiling Crab. The Boiling Crab claims both of the restaurants cited in the complaints infringe its registered trademarks and trade dress and are likely to cause confusion for consumers. In fact, The Boiling Crab claims actual confusion has already occurred with both Defendants’ restaurants.
According to the complaints, counsel for The Boiling Crab sent numerous cease and desist letters to each Defendant, however, the alleged infringement has not ceased. As such, The Boiling Crab is seeking damages for trademark infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act and unfair competition under Indiana common law.
The first case was assigned to District Judge James P. Hanlon and Magistrate Judge Matthew P. Brookman in the Southern District and assigned Case 1:20-cv-00711-JPH-MPB. The second case was assigned to District Judge James R. Sweeney II and Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch assigned Case No. 1:20-cv-00714-JRS-DML.