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There can be only one 99, lawsuit demands

99 vs. 99

A California chain of Asian supermarkets that recently opened an outlet in Quincy is suing a similarly named Asian supermarket in Malden for trademark infringement.

In a suit filed this week in US District Court in Boston, 99 Ranch, which opened a store in Quincy in January, asks a judge to order 99 Asian Supermarket in Malden to knock it off and pay treble damages and lawyers' fees.

99 Ranch says it's been around since 1984, that the owners of 99 Asian knew that and deliberately copied not only 99 Ranch's name but its red-number, green-laurel logo (99 Ranch's logo is on the left above), and that it's time to stop the nonsense now that 99 Ranch is open just 20 miles from 99 Asian

The Infringing 99 Laurel and Infringing Name imitate the 99 Marks in such a manner that is not only likely to cause consumer confusion and deceive the public regarding the source, sponsorship, and/or affiliation of 99 Asian, but upon information and belief, has caused actual consumer confusion.

99 Asian’s use of the Infringing 99 Laurel and the Infringing Name is causing irreparable harm to 99 Ranch’s brand.

Federal trademark law limits claims to names and marks in particular fields, so the 99 Restaurant & Pub chain, which is neither a supermarket nor Asian, and uses a horseshoe instead of laurel in its logo, should have nothing to worry about

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PDF icon Complete complaint462.91 KB

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Comments

I wonder what the Super 88 chain thinks of all this.

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Voting closed 19

Is there anything left of the Super 88 "chain" besides the Malden store? Allston has been Hong Kong Market for many years, and the Quincy location has been through a couple of changes in ownership/name since around 2010 or so.

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Voting closed 18

Both the Allston and Malden ones are Hong Kong Supermarket (if you believe what it says on the receipts) but they both have kept the Super 88 signage (with no Hong Kong signs that I’ve ever seen).

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Voting closed 17

Turns out they are still around: https://www.99restaurants.com/

Wonder if they'll get involved?

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Voting closed 20

Read the article

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Voting closed 26

Turns out they are still around: https://www.99restaurants.com/

Wonder if they'll get involved?

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Voting closed 15

I guess the steakhouse label is a horseshoe.

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Voting closed 16

Read the article

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Voting closed 22

The only real defense here is that 99 Asian Supermarket chose the name because they’re located on Route 99. They were also there before the Quincy store, but since it’s a national chain, that probably doesn’t matter.

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Voting closed 15

I thought there are also geographic limits on trademark claims. 99 Ranch had no stores in Massachusetts until January, and 99 Asian hs been here for several years.

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Voting closed 17

Did they trade mark it locally?

Local trademarks often override national chains if the local got there first. Age of use in some states overrides national trademarks if a business has been using a name longer than the trademark has been in force.

I think it ultimately depends on what the state laws are.

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Voting closed 19

99 Ranch had a federal registration before 99 Asian began operations. If 99 Asian had put something in with the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office, it would be a moot point.

It's not looking good for 99 Asian.

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Voting closed 17

The fanciful laurel wreath around the '99' indicates bad faith. If it was just the number '99', they could have made a strong claim that they used the mark in good faith.

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Voting closed 27

Remember when there was one of the last big mob hits in Boston at the 99 in Charlestown? It even made the New York Timeslast big mob hits in Boston And the joke that went around for a while that the 99 was instead known as the 95? How times have changed.

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Voting closed 17

I like that 99, notwithstanding the history. One of the victims used to eat there because he liked the steak tips and always ordered a double serving for lunch, I remember reading. Service there is always friendly, good place for an inexpensive meal at night after attending a sporting event. Best wishes for the staff.

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Voting closed 14

It's been said that the 99 murders were more a blood family beef than one organuzed syndicate taking out members of another. Mob hits carry a certain air of macabre glamour, but that may be more legend than fact here.

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Voting closed 13