Rockland egg restaurant scrambles after name dispute

By Stephen Betts | Apr 09, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts The Broken Egg restaurant plans to reopen next month to allow time to rename its Main Street business.

Rockland — A Main Street restaurant plans to reopen next month after being shelled by a legal challenge to its name.

Broken Egg closed temporarily last month after its owner Heather Symmt received notices from a law firm representing the restaurant chain Another Broken Egg, which is based in the Florida panhandle city of Destin. That company's website describes it as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village."

Another Broken Egg maintained that Rockland's Broken Egg was infringing on the chain's trademark.

The Rockland Broken Egg opened in May 2016. Symmt moved to the area from Texas a month before that after working the previous 20 years as an accountant.

Symmt said she received an email notice March 17 from a law firm in Minneapolis, Minn. that represents Another Broken Egg. That was followed by a March 22 letter from the same firm demanding that Broken Egg stop using the name, which Another Broken Egg had received a trademark for from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Another Broken Egg had 34 restaurants as of June 2014, according to its website. The closest to Maine is in Durham, N.C. which is 873 miles from Rockland.

Symmt said she closed the restaurant a week after receiving the notice, saying that legally Another Broken Egg has the right to object to her use of the name. She said, however, she took offense to the letter's insinuation that she was trying to take advantage of Another Broken Egg's reputation.

Symmt said she came up with Broken Egg after brainstorming one night.

"I'm a small, independent shop. My menu is not close to their menu. My logo is not close to their logo," she said.

The letter stated that she is prohibited from using Broken Egg, Broke Egg and Break the Egg along with Another Broken Egg.

Symtt said she decided to temporarily close to allow her time to decide a new name for the restaurant, get new menus printed, a new sign, and new social media sites. She said she also has t-shirts with Broken Egg on it.

"I've got a few mediums left if anyone is interested," she said.

The cost of changes will be a couple thousand dollars, Symmt said, in addition to the loss of business during the shutdown.

Symmt said she will be talking with a small group of creative people in the area to come up with a new name. She said she will also have a trademark search conducted.

The temporary closure came at a good time, however, since March and April are slower months for restaurants. Symmt said her goal is to have the restaurant at 421 Main St. reopened by May 18, which would be the first anniversary of when Broken Egg opened.

Another Broken Egg was established in 1996, according to its website. The original Broken Egg Cafe opened in Old Mandeville, La., in a century-old cottage built of barge wood, according to its website.

Another Broken Egg Chief Marketing Officer Jan Barnett said Monday in an email response, "Another Broken Egg of America, Inc. owns longstanding nationwide rights in its trademarks Another Broken Egg Cafe and Broken Egg. Like any trademark owner, we must take action to protect our legal rights and our franchisees’ business investment from infringement. Here, we did ask Broken Egg, LLC to cease infringing our marks. Shortly thereafter, its attorney responded, stating, 'Broken Egg, LLC is currently closed due to equipment issues and has decided to use this closure as an opportunity to rebrand their bistro.'”

Comments (10)
Posted by: Maggie Trout | Apr 10, 2017 21:17

This is interesting:  http://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20151230/clark-roads-broken-egg-becoming-the-original-egg  So this guy, Kirscher sold one of his Broken Egg restaurant to a long-time manager of one of the locations., but also to Double R first? Or ...?  But then the manager, now owner, Dawn Hair actually does have to change name and any logos - or else buy into the Another Broken Egg franchise, which she does, changing the name to The Original Egg, but they're leaving her alone - which they should, and the business is right in Sarasota.  I wonder how blindsided she was - talk about flipping pancakes.



Posted by: Connie J Miller | Apr 10, 2017 16:15

Could call it "Yolks on You".



Posted by: Gary W. Skarka | Apr 10, 2017 13:03

Doesn't look like they have included "Scrambled Egg", or, get scientific on them and call it "Fractured Ovum"!  Best of luck to you.  Sorry for your troubles.  On the bright side, look at the good advertising and sympathy this brings you.  I must have missed something, but I had no idea you were on Main St.  You may see me as a customer, now!



Posted by: Maggie Trout | Apr 10, 2017 12:55

It isn't an egg-centered restaurant anyway.  But small businesses who are not copying registered designs, logos, menus, and that receive word from heavy-power, heavy-handed corporations, cannot continue to be targets of anticompetition practices, and, in any case, the corporations usually lose - at least as far as I've read.  In all this, I keep thinking about how Trump, or anyone in that level of business practice must laugh when he knows, or his staff know how things actually play out - business bribery, for example,  is still legal in Germany, last I checked, but remains ubiquitous common practice.  All the more reason to tell Another Broken Egg - No. 



Posted by: Paul Smith | Apr 10, 2017 10:23

They don't have Break an Egg, use that just to spite them, or as the other poster said, fight them.  Broken Egg trademarked?  that's like trying to trademark Apple Pie!   Sheesh.   Sarah Smith.



Posted by: Margaret McCrea | Apr 09, 2017 23:01

Egg Plant



Posted by: Maggie Trout | Apr 09, 2017 16:08

Not a lawyer, but tell them, "No."  A 2015 case - BYC Inc v. The Broken Yolk & Sandwich Shoppe et al  BYC Inc owns the Broken Yolk Café chain.  The chain brought a lawsuit against The Broken Yolk & Sandwich Shoppe, an independent restaurant in Malden, MA.  If the court decision I viewed is correct,    Wisconsin Eastern District Court         Judge:         Rudolph T Randa         Case #:         2:15-cv-00375         Nature of Suit         840 Property Rights - Trademark         Cause         15:1051 Trademark Infringement, Case Filed:         Apr 01, 2015         Terminated:         May 22, 2015  That's one month from filing to voluntary dismissal. 

 

In that case, I wonder how much "good will," the Another Broken Egg chain would get from the publicity of a large chain trying to eggsecute a new, tiny restaurant in Maine.  Beyond that, will the courts condone national restaurant corporation control use of the word, "egg," or egg similes?  What a yolk.

 

On the other hand, the Broken Egg restaurant in Rockland might better call itself, ESTENS given the menu and target customers. (No apostrophe.  No going on about the lineage.  Just straight-out).  Still - someone should make a challenge.  Heh.  Maybe the City of Rockland and Main Street could send their own letter - from the attorney, in the interest of small business and economic development.



Posted by: Mark Haskell | Apr 09, 2017 15:21

F***/King Lawyers making $$$$$ for F***/ing Lawyers!

 



Posted by: Maggie Trout | Apr 09, 2017 12:41

Not a lawyer, but tell them, "No."  A 2015 case - BYC Inc v. The Broken Yolk & Sandwich Shoppe et al  BYC Inc owns the Broken Yolk Café chain.  The chain brought a lawsuit against The Broken Yolk & Sandwich Shoppe, an independent restaurant in Malden, MA.  If the court decision I viewed is correct,    Wisconsin Eastern District Court     Judge:     Rudolph T Randa     Case #:     2:15-cv-00375     Nature of Suit     840 Property Rights - Trademark     Cause     15:1051 Trademark Infringement, Case Filed:     Apr 01, 2015     Terminated:     May 22, 2015  That's one month from filing to voluntary dismissal. 

 

In that case, I wonder how much "good will," the Another Broken Egg chain would get from the publicity of a large chain trying to eggsecute a new, tiny restaurant in Maine.  Beyond that, will the courts condone national restaurant corporation control use of the word, "egg," or egg similes?  What a yolk.

 

On the other hand, the Broken Egg restaurant in Rockland might better call itself, ESTENS given the menu and target customers. (No apostrophe.  No going on about the lineage.  Just straight-out).  Still - someone should make a challenge.  Heh.  Maybe the City of Rockland and Main Street could send their own letter - from the attorney.



Posted by: ryan jones | Apr 09, 2017 09:46

We wish you all the best from the Thomaston Café!!!!!

 



If you wish to comment, please login.