United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
DISTRICT BREWING COMPANY, INC. d/b/a "Columbus Brewing Company, " Plaintiff,
CBC RESTAURANT, LLC d/b/a "Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant, " Defendant.
VASCURA MAGISTRATE JUDGE
OPINION & ORDER
ALGENON L. MARBLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant CBC Restaurant,
LLC's ("the Restaurant" or
"Defendant") Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc.
50.) For the reasons detailed below, the Restaurant's
motion is DENIED.
1988, Plaintiff District Brewing Company ("the
Brewery") was established by Jeff Edwards. (Compl., Doc.
1, ¶7.) The Brewery first used and registered the trade
name "Columbus Brewing Company" one year later, and
has continued to renew diligently its trade name.
(Id. ¶¶ 7-8.) The Brewery entered into a
lease for the building located at the intersection of Short
Street and Liberty Street in Columbus's Brewery District
Neighborhood in 1995. (See Id. ¶ 13.) The
building was owned by TOW, Ltd., whose part owner and
managing member was also Edwards. (See id.) By 1997,
Edwards was the sole owner of the Brewery. (See Op.
& Order on Pl.'s Mot. Prelim. Inj., Doc. 33, at 2.)
1997, the Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant opened as a
collaborative venture between Edwards and restauranteur
Cameron Mitchell. (Id.) Because Edwards and Mitchell
had always planned for the Brewery and Restaurant to work
together under the same roof, Edwards leased the front
portion of the Brewery's building to Mitchell's
restaurant company (Defendant's predecessor-in-interest).
(See id.) Under the lease, Mitchell's restaurant
company had the right to use the name "the Columbus
Brewing Company Restaurant"-and was in fact required to
do so. (Id.) The lease also required the restaurant
to purchase a minimum amount of the Brewery's beer to
sell, and allowed it to keep the existing "Columbus
Brewing Company" sign on the building. (Id.) In
2007, Defendant purchased the restaurant from Mitchell's
company, and the original lease remains in effect.
its opening in 1997, the Restaurant has openly used the
"Columbus Brewing Company" name, marks, and logo to
advertise the Restaurant and the Brewery jointly.
(Id. at 3.) And the Restaurant had only the
Brewery's beers on tap for years. (Id.) In fact,
during a two-year period (2007-2009) when die Brewery
struggled financially, die Restaurant was its biggest
2006, nearly a decade after die Restaurant opened, then-Vice
President of die Brewery, Eric Bean, objected to the
Restaurant's use of die Brewery's marks. (See
id.) This was die first time anyone affiliated with die
Brewery objected to the Restaurant's use of its marks.
(Id.) After Bean's objection, the Restaurant
simply informed him that it would continue to use the marks,
and no one objected to this use for nine more years.
(Id.) Indeed, during those nine years, die parties
continued to market themselves as a joint venture, including
by holding monthly "Hop Odyssey" events-where Bean
came to die Restaurant and introduced die Brewery's new
beers to diners-and "tap parties" for die
Brewery's beers at the Restaurant. (See id.)
2015, Bean assumed full ownership of the Brewery, which had
grown substantially since 2009. (See Doc. 1 ¶
38.) To account for this growth, the Brewery planned to open
a larger brewing facility, to which it located in 2016.
(See id.) Shortly before relocating, the Brewery
sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Restaurant, demanding
that the Restaurant stop its use of the "Columbus
Brewing Company" name, marks, and logo. (Id.
¶ 18, Ex. F.)
the Brewery filed this lawsuit and the Court denied its
motion for preliminary injunction (discussed below), the
Restaurant claims that it "embarked on a campaign to
systematically eliminate each and every use of the
'Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant' name, mark, and
logo used throughout its business." (Def.'s Mot.
Summ. J., Doc. 50, at 8.) Specifically, the Restaurant claims
it has done all of the following, with the help of a
marketing firm it hired, between July 2016 and January 2017:
• Altogether eliminated the use of the name "The
Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant";
• Created a new logo using its "CBC
Restaurant" tradename in a different color, font, shape,
and size, as compared to its previous logo;
• Changed its domain name from
• Updated its website to reflect its new marks, logo,
• Changed all menus, lobby posters, and table toppers to
reflect new marks, logo, and name;
• Purchased new uniforms and retail items bearing new
marks, logo, and name;
• Replaced all barware and growlers with those bearing
new marks, logo, and name;
• Updated social media accounts (e.g., Facebook and
Twitter) to new handles and new marks, logo, and name; •
Removed all photos and signage of Brewery inside the
• Painted the inside of the Restaurant and removed the
large mural in the bar area which bore the ...