As many successful businesses and charities have experienced, from time-to-time new businesses and organizations knowingly or inadvertently adopt business or program names (trademarks) that are similar to the established charity or business, creating a risk that donors, recipients or customers could be confused as to the relationship between the original and the new business or charity. Here, the Loveland restaurant began using the name Next Door for its restaurant after The Kitchen had already opened and begin using the brand NEXT DOOR for one of its restaurants in Boulder (and now in Denver and Glendale).
The trademark laws are in place to prevent that risk of confusion and the resulting damage it can cause. But trademark rights, like rights in real property, can be lost or diminished if the trademark owner does not consistently and fairly enforce its rights against all potential infringers – even those with benign intentions.
Consumer confusion as to a relationship between the Next Door restaurant in Loveland and our restaurants has been noted, even by the owners of the Next Door restaurant in Loveland. This likelihood of confusion or association isn’t fair to the public, it isn’t fair to us, and it creates a precedent that could permit others in the future to also adopt NEXT DOOR as a restaurant name and use it in a way that injures our business even more than the Loveland restaurant.
Put simply, if we do not take steps to consistently protect our brands we will lose the ability to do so in the future. Due to trademark law, our inaction also could prevent us from expanding our business into other markets. It is for these reasons, after several months of unsuccessfully attempting to resolve these issues informally with the Loveland restaurant, we felt compelled to take legal action. The decision was sad and very difficult for us, as the Loveland restaurant is part of our community.
I hope that you understand our position. We have been and continue to be driven by our mission to create community through food which means doing what is right for our community of employees, guests, farmers, purveyors, and our extended communities throughout Colorado. This decision was unfortunate but we were left with no alternative after several months of unsuccessful attempts to resolve this outside of the courts.