Trademark law, when properly applied and enforced, serves two functions of particular import. The first is protecting consumers from being misled as to the origin of goods and services found in the marketplace. The second is protecting product producers from having the goodwill of their brands usurped by competitors. Although the trademark system has seen its share of abusers, particular events, at times, unfold that make us thankful for the safeguards that trademark law can provide.
“Mister Softee” is a legendary brand for anyone who, like me, grew up in New York City. For me, the sound of the Mister Softee ice cream truck hearkens back fond memories of balmy, school-free New York summers, playing in the spray of open fire hydrants, and delicious frozen treats; treats like Bomb-Pops, Italian Ices, and of course, vanilla soft-serve cones with rainbow sprinkles. Imagine my dismay when I discovered today that someone was knocking-off that beloved brand with their own “Master Softee” ice cream trucks.
Thankfully, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain has granted a preliminary injunction to put a stop to what she judged was a clear showing of harm to Mister Softee’s business resulting from “Master Softee” trademark infringement.
You can read the Memorandum Opinion issued by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York here (photos in the Appendix):
You can also read the story (and compare marks) here:
and read more here: