Judge sides with Chickie's and Pete's in lawsuit over Crabfries

MICHAEL PLUNKETT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER A judge ruled last month that Tony's Place in Mayfair is hawking a menu item that's too similar to Chickie's and Pete's
MICHAEL PLUNKETT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER A judge ruled last month that Tony's Place in Mayfair is hawking a menu item that's too similar to Chickie's and Pete's (Crabfries.)
Posted: September 04, 2013

"SUBLIMINAL confusion." "Irreparable harm." "Tortious acts."

At times, a lawsuit filed by Chickie's and Pete's parent company, CPC Properties Inc., sounds more like a document on mind control than a case of trademark infringement.

But in a ruling handed down late last month, a federal judge determined that a Philadelphia pizza shop had infringed on the restaurant chain's trademarked Crabfries by placing a picture of a crab on their menus and ads next to the word "fries."

However, the judge denied Chickie's and Pete's claims of unjust enrichment, which would have allowed the chain to seek restitution against Tony's Place, the pizzeria in question on Frankford Avenue near Stirling Street in Mayfair. Tony's Place is about a block from Chickie's and Pete's original location on Robbins Street near Frankford.

Tony's Place, whose parent company is Dominic Inc., had previously been sued for trademark infringement by Chickie's and Pete's in 2000 for using "crab" and "crab fries" in relation to its seasoned french fries.

Tony's Place agreed to stop using the words as part of a settlement agreement in 2002, according to court documents.

But in a Pictionary-like move, the restaurant recently began putting a photo or drawing of a crab before the word "fries" on their ads and menu.

Chickie's and Pete's claimed the use of "[CRAB IMAGE] FRIES" by Tony's has caused it "injury and irreparable harm" and caused "subliminal confusion" among the public.


On Twitter: @FarFarrAway

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