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Florida pizza place sued for using Garden State Parkway logo

Pizza makers think the suit is "hysterical"; the New Jersey Transit Authority says it's just protecting its "well-established goodwill."
By Matt Bradwell Follow @mckb26 Contact the Author   |   Updated July 24, 2014 at 11:11 AM
TAVERNIER, Fla., July 24 (UPI) -- The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has sued a Florida pizza chain for styling its logo after one of theirs, saying it could confuse consumers.

Jersey Boardwalk Pizza, which operates two Florida locations, sports a green image of the state of New Jersey in a green circle with yellow text, similar to the iconic direction signs that have lined the Garden State Parkway since 1956.

According to a cease-and-desist filed in April, the Turnpike Authority "has invested a substantial amount of time, money and other resources advertising, promoting, marketing and publicizing its services provided under the Garden State Parkway logo mark."

But Jersey Boardwalk Pizza's owners refused to comply, feeling the state agency was overreacting by targeting the small business that has used the logo for ten years.

"It's hysterical," co-owner Skip Parratt told The Star-Ledger. "We're all the way in the Florida Keys. It's not like people are going to confuse us."

"Coming after someone down here, 1,300 miles away, is ridiculous," echoed Parratt's brother-in-law and Jersey Boardwalk Pizza co-owner Paul DiMatteo.

The Turnpike Authority, however, finds nothing hysterical or ridiculous about trying to save unsuspecting New Jerseyans visiting Florida from thinking there's a connection between Jersey Boardwalk Pizza and their home state.

In a letter Jersey Boardwalk Pizza's lawyers, Peter Nussbaum, attorney for the Transit Authority claimed consumers undeservedly associate the Florida pizza chain with the Transit Authority's "well-established goodwill."

"Consumers who encounter [Jersey Boardwalk Pizza]'s mark as used in connection with its restaurant services will mistakenly assume that your client's use of the mark is authorized by NJTA and/or that the food items served at your client's restaurant are associated with the food served at the restaurants located in the services areas on the Garden State Parkway."
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