Bokhary v. Southern Foods (17-cv-11096).

Judge Capser denied Bokhary’s motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent Southern Foods from using the mark GODAVARI in connection with its Indian restaurants. Bokhary sells prepackaged rice-based food products under the mark, and has a registration, which serves as prima facie evidence that the mark is valid.  Bohkary admits, however, that the products it sells originate from the Godavari River region of India, which is known as a major source of rice and rice products, which Judge Casper found sufficient to overcome the prima facie evidence based on the registration and to suggest that the mark is merely geographically descriptive.  Bohkary propounded no evidence at this stage of the proceedings to show that the mark has secondary meaning; thus, it is not reasonably likely that Bohkary would succeed in proving that the mark is valid.  Judge Casper also found that a likelihood of confusion had not been established, because restaurant services are sufficiently distinct from retail selling of pre-packaged foods, and that the rest of the evidence thus far put forth failed to overcome the weakness of the mark (assuming it were to be valid at all).  (Full disclosure – Southern Foods is represented by Nate Harris here at my firm – congrats, Nate!).

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