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A New York restaurant says there can only be one salami-related set of three little pigs. Les Trois Petits Cochons, a New York charcuterie shop, filed a lawsuit last week against D.C.’s own Three Little Pigs Charcuterie & Salumi, accusing the Brightwood Park spot of violating its trademark on the name.
Les Trois Petits Cochons—that’s French for three little pigs—has produced “all natural charcuterie and pâté products” since 1975. According to the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the New York establishment currently holds the trademarks for “Trois Petits Cochons” and “Three Little Pigs” when it comes to charcuterie meats and other related food products. It says the D.C. charcuterie shop has knowingly and deliberately disregarded its trademark rights and is asking for monetary compensation to be determined at trial.
The District’s Three Little Pigs opened in 2012 and similarly sells all kinds of meats. The New York business alleges in the suit that it has issued D.C.’s Three Little Pigs three cease-and-desist letters and only received a response after the third letter. In an email, Carolina Story, who owns Three Little Pigs with her husband Jason Story, says that she talked to Les Trois Petits Cochons months ago about the name and agreed to change the name of her establishment to TLP, though warned it would take several months. She says by filing a suit, Les Trois Petits Cochons hasn’t respected that timeline. The D.C. establishment’s Facebook page, Instagram, and even farmers market labels all now use the moniker “T L P charcuterie & salumi.”
“Our business is not limited to nor is it defined by its name,” Story writes. “It is the quality of our products and our values that make us who we are.”
But according to the suit, Les Trois Petits Cochons doesn’t want the D.C. shop to start using TLP, saying it’s “common knowledge” that all of the New York outfit’s distributors already know them as TLP.
“This further evidences Defendant’s bad faith and intent to cause confusion in the marketplace,” the suit reads. Les Trois Petits Cochons declined to comment on the suit, and its lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
“Les Trois Petites Cochons has always used that name. They are not TLP, and Three Little Pigs is a beloved children’s story, and it’s a shame they decided to claim the name,” writes Story. “Even though they have always used their name in French—until recently. Its not a big deal to me to change the name.”
Story says she respects the New York company and simply named her shop Three Little Pigs because it was her favorite story from her childhood. She’d like to keep TLP, but if she’s barred from doing so, she’d consider having customers vote on a new name.
“I think it would be fun if our customers came up with a fun new name,” she says. “It would make this whole bad situation a great one. Now that customers know who we are and what we do—I’d be interested to know what they would call us if given the chance.”
Read the suit below:
Photo by Jessica Sidman