Orange County - Rare Hospitality International Inc., which owns the Longhorn Steakhouse chain of restaurants, is facing new trademark claims from Las Vegas's Golden Nugget casino, which alleges one of the chain's cheesecake desserts infringes its trademarked name.
GNLV Corp. filed a complaint in Nevada federal court Tuesday alleging the Longhorn Golden Nugget Fried Cheesecake is a bad faith ripoff of GNLV's trademarks for restaurant services.
GNLV holds federally registered trademarks for the name Golden Nugget in conjunction with casino and restaurant services, and has continuously used the name since the casino opened in 1946.
"The Golden Nugget name and mark is among the most recognized and respected names in the gaming industry," the complaint says.
The company and its predecessors have spent tens of millions of dollars over the years on ads and promotions using the trademarks around the world. It has made extensive use of the trademarks in connection with restaurant, hotel and casino services.
In July GNLV learned that Longhorn was using the Golden Nugget trademark in connection with the fried cheesecake dessert at all of its 386 steakhouses.
"The defendant is using the Golden Nugget mark with the bad faith intent to profit from plaintiff's marks," the complaint says.
Longhorn has no trademark or other intellectual property rights in the Golden Nugget name, and has never used it before in connection with any of its goods or services, according to GNLV.
"The defendant intends to obtain a commercial benefit by offering restaurant goods and services under the Golden Nugget Mark and in a manner that could harm the goodwill represented by plaintiff's marks," the company says.
Longhorn is using the trademark in commerce for its restaurant goods and services, which makes it confusingly similar to GNLV's own services and possibly deceptive to consumers, GNLV says.
GNLV is also asserting claims for unfair competition, deceptive trade practices and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. The company is seeking an injunction barring Longhorn from using the trademark name, damages, costs and attorneys' fees.