All War for Peace, Love, and Popcorn Trademark

By Joseph Mandour on July 15, 2011

popcorn-thumb-200x150-30070 San Diego, CA – Love, Peace, and Popcorn felt anything but peaceful this Christmas. On December 22, 2010, the small, family-owned gourmet popcorn business was slapped with a lawsuit by Illinois-based Popcorn Factory, claiming trademark infringement and cyber-squatting.

Gary Paparell, owner of Love, Peace, and Popcorn insists that he properly registered the trademark after his 19-year old daughter helped him brainstorm the clever name and logo. In his mind, if he properly registered the trademark and was issued a notice of allowance in 2009, then what is the problem?

The opposing Popcorn Factory claims to have been using the Peace, Love, and Popcorn trademark since May 2008, just three months before Paparella filed his application. Because of the close similarity in the names and Popcorn Factory’s claim that the similarity would likely cause confusion with popcorn consumers, the 31-year old subsidiary of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc., is not only demanding that Paparella cease and desist use of the trademark, but also hand over all profits he has made from it. Due to the suspicious timing of the tradmark filings and domain name registrations, Paparella may have some difficulty proving he had no knowledge of The Popcorn Factory’s use of the trademark.

Under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), the mom-and-pop business can be sued for up to $100,000 in damages per domain name. This could be a costly lesson for Mr. Paparella and one that won’t bring him peace anytime soon.

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