Supreme Court rejects Kroger challenge to Grubhub trademark win

The Supreme Court declined on Monday to consider Kroger's request to block Grubhub's use of the fork-and-knife logo based on allegations that it would cause confusion with the Kroger meal-kit service.

The Supreme Court declined on Monday to consider Kroger's request to block Grubhub's use of the fork-and-knife logo based on allegations that it would cause confusion with the Kroger meal-kit service. (Kroger)


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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to consider supermarket chain Kroger's request to block Grubhub's use of the company's fork-and-knife logo based on allegations that it would cause confusion with the Kroger meal-kit service Home Chef's logo.

The justices turned away Kroger's appeal of a lower court's ruling that Grubhub's logo was not similar enough to Home Chef's to justify granting an injunction prohibiting its use due to alleged marketplace confusion. Grubhub is a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Just Eat Takeaway.

Just Eat Takeaway.com changed Grubhub's logo to resemble its own logo, a silhouette of a house with a fork and knife in the center, after buying the Chicago-based company in 2021.

Cincinnati-headquartered Kroger, the biggest grocer in the United States by revenue, sent Grubhub a cease-and-desist letter based on Home Chef's logo, which also features a fork and knife inside of a house silhouette.

Grubhub sued in Illinois federal court later in 2021, seeking a declaration that it did not violate Kroger's trademark rights. Kroger responded with a request for a preliminary injunction against Grubhub using its new logo.

A magistrate judge said consumer confusion was likely enough to justify an injunction against Grubhub, but U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle disagreed and rejected Kroger's request. The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Norgle's decision last year.

"We do not see how a consumer interacting with the Grubhub House Logo could reasonably believe that she was engaging with Home Chef, particularly where the accused mark prominently features Grubhub's own brand name," Judge John Lee wrote for the 7th Circuit.

Kroger told the justices that its case illustrated how courts analyze the risk of consumer confusion in "starkly different, subjective ways," creating "incomplete, unbalanced, and unpredictable trademark infringement decisions."

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Blake Brittain

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