Two pizzerias feud over trade secrets, branding

Aug. 18, 2003

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Owners of two pizza companies are battling in court over whether one is exploiting the trade secrets and menus of the other.

According to the Triangle Business Journal, on July 10, a lawyer for Lilly's Pizza asked for an injunction to block restaurateur Dusty Anderson, owner of Dusty's Pizza, from allegedly stealing Lilly's menu items, recipes and slogans.

Lilly's lawyer claimed Anderson is violating the terms of a February 2003 sale of two Lilly's outlets by owner, Jon Garrison, to Anderson.

Under the terms of a sale Anderson could use the Lilly's trade name and other characteristics of the restaurant until May 15.

Anderson claims he changed the name of his restaurant to Dusty's Pizza & Pub about 90 days after the deal closed.

Garrison claims Anderson continued to use some Lilly's recipes and copied Lilly's menu design even after the deadline. Menus from the competing restaurants, marked as exhibits in the lawsuit, included pies with unique Lilly's names such as Dante's Inferno and El Pollo Loco.

"Lilly's is recognized as just having exceptionally good pizza," said Lilly's lawyer, Paul Ridgeway. Garrison believed, Ridgeway said, the lawsuit was necessary to protect the Lilly's reputation.

Anderson said he agreed to rename his pies, but he argued his pizza is so different from Lilly's that Raleigh pizza customers shouldn't become confused.

"I never wanted to be a Lilly's or intended to be a Lilly's," Anderson said.

The judge presiding over the case approved the injunction, barring Anderson indefinitely from using the Lilly's name and other characteristics of the pizzeria, right down to the typeface on the menu.

Anderson didn't oppose the injunction. He told the Triangle it would have been "irrelevant" for him to fight the "legal maneuver."

Anderson also said Garrison's lawsuit is more about money than menus.

Topics: Independent Operation , Operations Management

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