Seven may not be a such lucky number, after all, for convenience store operators that have been using the name “7-SEVEN” for their stores in Macon, Georgia.
On March 11, 2012, 7-Eleven, Inc. (“7-Eleven”) filed two complaints in the Macon Division of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia against various defendants for trademark infringement and dilution, unfair competition, and related state law claims.
Its complaints assert that 7-Eleven, “since at least as early as”: (i) 1946, has used its mark 7-ELEVEN; and (ii) 1967, has offered gasoline under that mark. 7-Eleven alleges that there are presently over 7,000 convenience stores using the 7-ELEVEN mark, many of which offer gasoline and other vehicle-related products. 7-Eleven also claims trademark rights to what it calls its “7-Eleven Striped Mark,” pictured below.
7-Eleven alleges that its “name, mark, and logo, and 7-Eleven Striped Mark have became famous and extremely well known among consumers, and have acquired a strong secondary meaning signifying 7-Eleven long before the acts of the defendants complained of herein.”
7-Eleven v. Popli, et al.
In the first of its two complaints, 7-Eleven identifies the following Macon locations as convenience stores using the 7-SEVEN logo pictured below:
· 4765 Riverside Drive;
· 1290 Gray Highway;
· 1904 Shurling Drive; and
· 2760 Montpelier Avenue.
Additionally, 7-Eleven charges that the Shurling Drive location uses the striped design shown below, which amounts to “simulating the 7-Eleven Striped Mark.”
7-Eleven v. Kaur, et al.
In the second of its complaints, 7-Eleven adds an allegation that it has frequently used its logo in a monochromatic variety, such as shown at the right. It then identifies two additional Macon locations using the same 7-SEVEN logo shown above regarding thePopli lawsuit:
· 3590 Napier Avenue; and
· 3609 Pio Nono Avenue.
7-Eleven’s complaint then depicts the gasoline pump and canopy shown below, which it alleges defendants are using at the Pio Nono location, and which it characterizes as another simulation of its 7-ELEVEN mark and logo.
A March 18, 2013 report by The Telegraph quoted one of the defendants named in the Kaur lawsuit as stating: “‘anybody can tell’ the difference between the 7-Eleven and 7-SEVEN logos even though he admits they are similar,” and “‘It’s not the same.’”
The complaints both request injunctive and monetary relief, including enhanced damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
The cases are: (1) 7-Eleven, Inc. v. Madan Popli, et al., No. 5:13-cv-0085-MTT; and (2) 7-Eleven, Inc. v. Navpreet Kaur, et al., No. 5:13-cv-0086-MTT. Both cases were filed 03/11/13 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Macon Division, and are assigned to U.S. District Judge Marc T. Treadwell.Copyright © 2014 Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.