Some time ago we wrote about a tiff concerning “Never Ending Shrimp” (see Bon Appétit). The argument concerned not the shrimp, but trademark rights in the term. The owners of the Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurant chains alleged that use of the term by a T.G.I. Friday’s franchisee would cause confusion with the Olive Garden’s “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” and Red Lobster’s occasional all-you-can-eat shrimp promotions.
We had previously expressed the view that individuals focused on all-you-can-eat meals care little, if anything, about trademarks. Nevertheless, knowing how important such matters – the food, not the trademarks – are to some people, we provide the following update on the case as a public service.
The T.G.I. Friday’s franchise agreed to entry of a permanent injunction, the terms of which were not disclosed. It seems likely, however, that the T.G.I. Friday’s TV advertisement where a narrator holds a plate “with approximately 20 shrimp” (the folks at Olive Garden and Red Lobster apparently counted them) and says, “We’ve got never ending shrimp,” is now history. You devotees of the endless-food restaurant experience need not worry. T.G.I. Friday’s can serve never ending shrimp, they just can’t call it that. The lawyers who billed their time to this ridiculous matter are undoubtedly eating steak.
And T.G.I. Friday's is eating crow.