It’s a battle of biblical proportions as one IHOP — better known as the International House of Pancakes — fights another IHOP — the International House of Prayer — over the use of those four famous letters.
Last week, pancake IHOP filed suit against church IHOP, alleging trademark dilution and infringement.
You probably are all familiar with pancake IHOP, home of the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘n’ Fruity breakfast and pancakes stuffed with cheesecake. The breakfast chain has been around since the late ’50s and using the IHOP acronym since the early ’70s.
Meanwhile, there’s the other IHOP, a megachurch in Kansas City, MO, that is open 24/7, every day of the year for folks who want to pop in and pray. This IHOP was founded in 1999.
Pancake IHOP claims six registered trademarks with the IHOP acronym. The lawsuit alleges that prayer IHOP’s use of the name causes “great and irreparable injury and confuses the public.”
The suit also alleges that prayer IHOP deliberately chose its name to ride on the coattails of the restaurant chain. The company says it has filed the suit to protect the chain’s franchisees: “We are compelled to protect the 350 small-business owners who own IHOP franchises and the IHOP good name that’s been around for 52 years.”
The eatery’s rep also points out that some prayer IHOPs have begun serving food. It could be argued that this would put the two IHOPs in competition with each other.
The lawsuit against prayer IHOP isn’t seeking monetary damages beyond attorney fees and costs of litigation.
IHOP (the pancake-maker) sues IHOP (the prayer center) over trademark [Kansas City Star]