US Supreme Court Rejects Kroger Challenge To Grubhub Trademark Win

By Reuters
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US Supreme Court Rejects Kroger Challenge To Grubhub Trademark Win

The US Supreme Court has declined to consider supermarket chain Kroger's request to block Grubhub's use of the food-delivery company's fork-and-knife logo based on allegations that it would cause confusion with the Kroger meal-kit service Home Chef's logo.

The justices turned away Kroger's appeal of a lower court's ruling that Grubhub's logo was not similar enough to Home Chef's to justify granting an injunction prohibiting its use due to alleged marketplace confusion. Grubhub is a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Just Eat

Just Eat changed Grubhub's logo to resemble its own logo, a silhouette of a house with a fork and knife in the centre, after buying the Chicago-based company in 2021.

Cincinnati-headquartered Kroger, the biggest grocer in the United States by revenue, sent Grubhub a cease-and-desist letter based on Home Chef's logo, which also features a fork and knife inside of a house silhouette.

Grubhub sued in Illinois federal court later in 2021, seeking a declaration that it did not violate Kroger's trademark rights. Kroger responded with a request for a preliminary injunction against Grubhub using its new logo.


Consumer Confusion

A magistrate judge said consumer confusion was likely enough to justify an injunction against Grubhub, but US District Judge Charles Norgle disagreed and rejected Kroger's request. The Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Norgle's decision last year.

"We do not see how a consumer interacting with the Grubhub House Logo could reasonably believe that she was engaging with Home Chef, particularly where the accused mark prominently features Grubhub's own brand name," Judge John Lee wrote for the 7th Circuit.

Kroger told the justices that its case illustrated how courts analyse the risk of consumer confusion in "starkly different, subjective ways," creating "incomplete, unbalanced, and unpredictable trademark infringement decisions."

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