Getting Schooled on Trademark Law

Krispy Kream, the donut folks, are itching to get Krispy Kream Drive In on Route 422 in Belsano to change their name. I’ve no idea where Belsano is, but ower Christina Hoover says “we’re an ice cream fast food stand. It’s a drive in.” It’s been the Hoover’s bread and butter since 1968.

What Krispy Kreme is really arguing is dilution of their “famous” brand. Since going IPO a few years ago, Krispy Kremes have popped up everywhere across the county, from SBC Park in SF to the Excaliber in Las Vegas. So yes, within the last few years, one could argue that they are a “famous” tradermark like McDonalds or Kodak and should be protected from dilution (e.g. someone selling McDonalds backpacks or Kodak bicycles). The problem with this argument is that you can only sue someone for diluting a famous mark after its become famous. Since the Hoovers’ ice cream stand has had the name “Krispy Kream” since 1968, they are quite safe from a dilution attack. (emphasis added)

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