IHOP pancake chain drops suit against church

By Reuters
Posted Dec. 30, 2010 at 10:32 a.m.

The pancake chain that sued a church for using its nickname without permission appears to have flipped its legal strategy.

The International House of Pancakes restaurant chain, known as IHOP, has ended its trademark infringement lawsuit against the International House of Prayer, citing “on-going mediation discussions” with the church.

IHOP had accused the church of choosing a name it knew would be abbreviated IHOP, with the intent of trading on the fame and reputation of the restaurant chain, which has used the acronym in marketing since 1973.

The chain alleged that the church misappropriated IHOP trademarks for its website http://www.ihop.org and in social media, its bible school IHOP University, various events and various ministries.

“Several persons have remarked that confusion exists,” an amended complaint filed Sept. 9 said.

IHOP, the chain, voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit on Dec. 21, according to a filing in federal court in Los Angeles.

The roughly 1,500-restaurant chain is a unit of Glendale, California-based DineEquity Inc. IHOP, the church, was founded in 1999 and is based in Kansas City, Missouri.

The case is IHOP IP LLC v. International House of Prayer et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 10-06622.

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  1. Innocent_III Dec. 30, 2010 at 10:56 a.m.

    I thought that trademark infringement requires that the infringer has offered goods or services that are identical or similar to those offered by the trademark owner. Isn’t one of the tests for infrinement the “likelihood of confusion”– that a customer, or potential customer, might confuse the infringer’s business with the trademark owner’s business?

    If so, is the restaurant chain claiming that someone might think the church was really a pancake restaurant??

  2. Don Dec. 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    So is there pancakes served at this church? Pancakes are good.

  3. Jeeper Dec. 30, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Where do one-legged nuns work? IHOP…

  4. piddle Dec. 31, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    It’s not illegal, as nothing was being sold under that name in the “church.” However, it is a bit immoral as the “church” is trying to bring in more people by using a popular establishment, connecting itself to such by name and creating a link in mindset. Typical bs coming from the church of man, not illegal, but then, they’ll go as far as they want so long as they can legally get away with it. Such, they kept slaves when that was legal. Don’t expect honest behavior from the churches built by mandkind.

  5. Dave Jan. 5 at 11:03 a.m.

    What a dumb lawsuit to begin with. Reminds me of the time way back when the CTA wanted to sue the music group Chicago because their original name was the Chicago Transit Authority, as if you can’t tell the difference between a bus and Peter Cetera! I believe that there was a movie back in the 40’s called “Appearing Nightly”. Wonder if anyone sued because the stars were not actually there in person, but stuck on the screen?! Stupid people, stupid lawsuits.