Peter Luger sues rival steakhouse over its name

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Peter Luger, the famed Brooklyn steakhouse, has sued a rival restaurateur for running a similarly named restaurant in Pennsylvania, with plans to expand into Florida.

The trademark infringement lawsuit filed late Thursday said Robert Dickert has run a “deliberate campaign to confuse consumers” into believing his Carl von Luger Steak and Seafood restaurant open since 2011 was associated with the Michelin-starred Peter Luger, which opened in 1887.

A spokeswoman for Dickert and his company Carl Von Luger LLC on Friday said they would have no comment. A lawyer for Peter Luger had no immediate comment.

Peter Luger is famed for its dry-aged steaks, especially its porterhouse, and has been named New York City’s top steakhouse by Zagat’s every year since 1979.

Its fans have included the former late night talk show host Johnny Carson, who said he ate the best meal of his life there.

Peter Luger said in the lawsuit that Dickert, who once worked at its branch in Great Neck, New York, made up the name Carl von Luger to piggyback off its reputation.

It also said Dickert has sown confusion by touting his restaurant’s “age old family tradition” continuing “since 1887” in its marketing materials and logo.

Carl von Luger has a restaurant in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and plans late next year to open a branch in North Palm Beach, Florida, according to a news article this month.

Peter Luger said it has been fielding inquiries since the article’s publication about whether it was expanding into Florida, where many customers have primary residences.

“Defendants’ infringement and false advertising has already engendered a good deal of confusion in the marketplace and will continue to do so unless stopped,” the lawsuit said.

Peter Luger is seeking to force Dickert to stop using the Carl von Luger name, and pay unspecified damages.

The case is Peter Luger Inc v Carl von Luger LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-03767.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler