AUSTIN, Texas — The company behind a Downtown Austin movie theater is suing the developer behind a planned amphitheater, saying the amphitheater name is a trademark infringement.
Violet Crown Cinemas LLC. (Violet Crown) owns and operates the Violet Crown Austin theater on West Second Street. The Austin location was the company's first and the company has seen opened other locations in Sante Fe, New Mexico, and Charlottesville, North Carolina, and plans to open another in Dallas next year.
According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by KVUE, Violet Crown is the owner of several registered trademarks, including for "Violet Crown" in connection with movie theaters; the production and distribution of motion pictures; and bar and restaurant services, respectively, as well as "Violet Crown Cinemas" in connection with movie theaters.
As KVUE has previously reported, International Development Management Co. (DM) is planning a project near Bee Cave that includes an amphitheater called the Violet Crown Amphitheater. IDM aims to open the first pieces of its Violet Crown project in 2023, with the amphitheater hopefully open by Labor Day 2023. Plans for the project also include two luxury apartment towers, a parking garage, a distillery with a tasting room and a Top Golf-style driving range.
The site is located northwest of State Highway 71 and Southwest Parkway. Since the project was announced in October, it has been met with opposition from environmental advocates who say the development will endanger Barton Creek and its nature preserve.
The lawsuit states that because of the similarity between "Violet Crown Amphitheater" and "Violet Crown" in relation to the theater, Violet Crown has received numerous inquiries about the amphitheater from people who think the company is the developer of the venue.
Violet Crown said because of the confusion and its existing trademarks, it sent IDM a cease-and-desist letter on Nov. 16. Violet Crown said it did receive a response, but it "was not substantive and merely acknowledged receipt of the letter." The lawsuit states that Violet Crown has not received a "substantive response" to its demand that IDM cease any further use of its trademarks in connection with the proposed amphitheater and "accordingly, Violet Crown has been forced to file this lawsuit to protect its rights."
The lawsuit states five claims for relief: federal trademark infringement; federal unfair competition; federal trademark dilution of the "Violet Crown" trademark; common law trademark infringement and unfair competition; and state trademark dilution and injury to business reputation.
The lawsuit states that IDM's use of "Violet Crown Amphitheater," in addition to allegedly being trademark infringement, is likely to cause "confusion, deception and mistake" by leading people to believe that IDM's goods and services are the product of Violet Crown, are associated with the company or have the sponsorship, endorsement or approval of the company. Violet Crown said that could cause injury to its business reputation.
"IDM’s actions demonstrate an intentional, willful, and malicious intent to trade on the goodwill associated with Violet Crown’s VIOLET CROWN Marks to Violet Crown’s great and irreparable harm," the lawsuit states, continuing, "IDM caused and is likely to continue causing substantial injury to the public and to Violet Crown, and Violet Crown is entitled to injunctive relief and to recover IDM’s profits."
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