Two barbecue businesses, one based in Texas and the other in Ohio, have settled their trademark dispute. Rudy’s Texas Bar-B-Q alleged in an Oct. 13, 2010, federal complaint that it owns the name “Rudy’s Texas Bar-B-Q” and “Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q,” among other trademarks, and that an Ohio company using the name Rudy’s Smokehouse Barbeque had infringed upon its rights. But the two barbecue sellers settled, and on Jan. 12, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of the Western District of Texas issued an order dismissing with prejudice Rudy’s Texas Bar-B-Q LLC v. Mitchell-Peterson Inc., a/k/a Rudy’s Smokehouse Barbeque. As alleged in the complaint, Leon Springs-based Rudy’s Texas Bar-B-Q owns and operates a chain of 29 restaurants in Texas and three other states. First established in 1929, Rudy’s Texas Bar-B-Q opened its doors “as a combination filling station, automobile repair shop, and grocery store,” the complaint stated, and in 1989, the company added barbecue to the restaurant menu. “Rudy’s has been serving up tasty food ever since,” the complaint stated. The complaint alleged that Mitchell-Peterson operates two barbecue restaurants in Ohio, using the name “Rudy” and “barbeque,” as well as an Internet website using the allegedly infringing name “rudyssmokehousebarbeque.com” for the promotion of the two restaurants. The complaint alleged that Mitchell-Peterson’s website “flagrantly and repeatedly uses the phrases ‘Texas barbeque’ and ‘True barbeque as practiced in Texas,’ which further demonstrates Defendant’s brazen and illicit use of the Rudy’s Texas Bar-B-Q concept and marks.” The complaint alleged Mitchell-Peterson, by infringing on Rudy’s Texas Bar-B-Q’s marks, committed continued acts of trademark infringement and engaged in unfair competition and false advertising. Mitchell-Peterson did not file an answer in the case. But David P. Shouvlin, a partner in the Columbus, Ohio, office of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur who represents Mitchell-Peterson, says the allegations are not true. Ryan Fellman (pictured), an associate with Gordon & Rees in Dallas who represents Rudy’s Texas Bar-B-Q, confirms the two sides settled. Shouvlin declines to detail the terms of deal, citing possible confidentiality requirements of the pact. Gordon & Rees co-managing partner Mary Goodrich Nix (pictured), who also represents Rudy’s Texas Bar-B-Q, says that under the terms of the deal, Ohio-based Rudy's Smokehouse Barbeque will no longer include the word "barbeque" in its name.
-- Miriam Rozen