California residents who are fans of the cartoon series ‘The Simpsons” likely remember the convenience store in the show. On Dec. 29, a convenience store that was named Quick E Mart was sued by 7-Eleven for trademark infringement. The store is owned by Sangha Investments LLC and operated in North Bend, Oregon.
According to 7-Eleven, the name Quick E Mart is too similar to Kwik E Mart from The Simpsons. In 2007, 7-Eleven did a cross-promotion with the cartoon series and changed the branding on some of its stores to look like Springfield’s Kwik E Mart. 7-Eleven also alleges that the Oregon Quick E Mart used its recognizable striping on the design of its building.
The Oregon store allegedly used striping that was so similar to 7-Eleven’s that it was likely to cause confusion with customers. 7-Eleven alleges that Quick E Mart used similar branding on purpose in order to profit from 7-Eleven’s good name. 7-Eleven registered a trademark for its most current logo in 2009, and it registered a trademark for its signature stripe pattern in 2016. The owner of Quick E Mart does not own any trademarks for the branding used at the store.
Companies often enter into trademark infringement litigation because protecting their trademarks saves money in the long run. A company that has built up a great reputation with consumers could have that reputation damaged when lower-quality knockoffs are allowed to stay in the marketplace. An attorney may be able to help a company to protect its trademarks from being stolen by pursuing legal action against competitors that are using them.