The Garden State Parkway and government trademarks: What exit?


So, yes:  One of my many continuing series around here has long been the assertion of trademark rights by political subdivisions and agencies in stuff that they’re supposed to just do.  These include:

I even kind of did a roundup on one case where the MTA pulled back after overplaying its hand.  But across the River, New Jersey, now — as ever — begs to be heard, as reported in the N.J. Law Journal and the Newark Star-Ledger, per the tweet above:

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants to be clear: It is not in the restaurant business, in this state or any other.

To underline the point, the agency has filed a federal lawsuit against a Florida chain of two New Jersey-themed pizza places, claiming the restaurants’ yellow-and-green logo too closely resembles the Garden State Parkway sign . . . .

“Coming after someone down here, 1,300 miles away, is ridiculous,” [defendant] DiMatteo said.
But the authority notes that the restaurant is actively working to franchise the brand — and presumably the logo — nationally, including, the restaurant says on its website, “up and along the coast to the northeast of the United States.”

“This is not just about some pizza joint in the Florida Keys,” a spokesman for the authority said an email.

Yeah, but it is.

Jersey busSo yes, I was, earlier today, asked my view of the matter.  And yes, I did pass on a link to one of those earlier posts.

But, to be more specific, and as one who has lived in the Garden State for over 40 years, let me put it to the Authority Jersey-like, as I write this in beautiful Passaic County, so’s I can be completely understood:

Ya not franchising nuttin, Goddin State Pockway.

You ain’t franchisin’ no stinkin’ pizza in Flah-rida.

You got nuttin.

Hey.  You.  Yeah, you.

Whatta you “franchising nationally”?  Highways?  You gonna put ya logo on uddah roads “up and along the coast to the northeast of the United States”?

Fa’ what?  So’s a buncha udda highways gonna confuse people who reckonize ya logo into thinking they’re the Goddin State also?  Dat’s what youse is franchising?

Who ah ya freakin’ customas, Goddin State?  Who you gonna franchise a sign fa da POCKWAY to?  Hah? Somebody wants to drive on the Pockway dey gotta see da sign for da Pockway.  Dey don’ wanna see no freaking Goddin State sign to go to freakin’ New Hampshih.  Dey don’t wanna see no freaking Goddin State sign in Vuhginya.

You got nuttin.

This, in any event, is my preliminary view of the matter.  Any substantive analysis would, necessarily, require consideration of the entire operative factual scenario.

But, hey.  Get outta here.

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.