Santa Ana, CA – El Pollo Loco, Inc. (“EPL”) sued Jacinto & Corona Enterprises, Inc. for trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition under the Lanham Act § 43(a). EPL operates and franchises restaurants, specializing in pretty tasty grilled chicken, in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Colorado and Illinois. With locations in only six states, EPL may have difficulty showing that its marks are nationally famous, as required by the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006.
EPL owns, amongst others, the following trademarks: (1) a word mark registration for “El Pollo Loco,” which translates to “The Crazy Chicken,” with “Pollo” disclaimed; (2) a word mark registration for “El Pollo Loco Flame-Grilled Mexican Chicken,” with “Flame-Grilled Mexican Chicken” disclaimed; and (3) a composite mark consisting of a chicken head and flames with the words “El Pollo Loco Flame-Grilled Mexican Chicken,” with the words “Pollo” and “Flame-Grilled Mexican Chicken” disclaimed, as shown to the right.
Defendant Jacinto operates a restaurant under the name “El Pollo Mexican Grill” in Santa Ana, California. Jacinto also uses the logo pictured to the left in operating and promoting its restaurant, including on its signs, menus, website and other advertisements. EPL alleges that it has nine of its own restaurants within a five mile radius of Jacinto’s restaurant. EPL has allegedly asked Jacinto to cease its use of the “El Pollo Mexican Grill” mark, but Jacinto has refused. With the words “Pollo” and “Flame-Grilled Mexican Chicken” disclaimed, it will be interesting to see the scope of protection afforded EPL’s trademarks. The case is El Pollo Loco, Inc. v. Jacinto & Corona Enterprises, Inc., SACV 09-959 CJC (C.D. Cal. 2009).