Federal Court Rules in Favor of Marsh in Trademark Dispute

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A federal court in South Bend, Ind., recently found that the Arthur's Fresh Market, a separately operated division of Marsh Supermarkets based here, does not violate the Fresh Market trademark.

Earlier this year, North Carolina-based The Fresh Market requested a preliminary injunction that Arthur's Fresh Market be required to cease using its trademark, alleging consumer confusion between the Arthur's Fresh Market mark and the Fresh Market trademark.

The court stated that the Fresh Market failed to prove a likelihood of success on the merits of consumer confusion regarding the two trademarks. The court cited first that the two marks are significantly different, with the Arthur's Fresh Market trademark focusing on the word "Arthur's." The court also noted that the Fresh Market trademark is descriptive and therefore "weak and not entitled to broad sweeping protection."

Arthur's Fresh Market was represented by Dan Lueders and Charles Meyer of Indianapolis-based Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry LLP. The Fresh Market was represented by Finnegan, Henderson, et al., the largest intellectual property firm in the country, based in Washington, D.C.

Commenting on the ruling, Charles Meyer said, "The combination of the adjective 'fresh' and the noun 'market' is a descriptive term much like the word 'grocery.' Such a commonly used term does not warrant trademark protection." Meyer noted that, beyond the descriptive phrasing, the two brands present substantially different commercial impressions, and the public is smart enough to know the difference.

Marsh's e.v.p., Arthur Marsh, who testified at the hearing, said, "The Arthur's Fresh Market concept is an extension of our focus on 'fresh.' A constant stream of new ideas and customer-driven initiatives has enabled Marsh to remain competitive for nearly 75 years."

Founded in 1931, Marsh operates 69 namesake supermarkets, 38 LoBill Foods stores, 8 O'Malia Food Markets, 161 Village Pantry convenience stores, two Arthur's Fresh Market stores, and one Savin$ SM store. The company also operates Crystal Food Services SM, Primo SM Banquet Catering and Conference Centers, Floral Fashions, McNamara Florist, and Enflora Flowers for Business.

Founded in 1879, Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry LLP is Indiana's oldest patent and trademark law firm. The Firm focuses exclusively on patent, trademark and copyright law.
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