Real-Life Copycat Lesson #7: A “Lake Effect” trademark conflict

11 June, 2019

Buffalo’s Lake Effect Diner, who chose their name because “everyone in Western New York gets the phrase,” is suing Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream for trademark infringement. Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream has locations in Lockport, and Buffalo — the latter less than a mile from the Lake Effect Diner. The seasonal ice cream shop says it has been operating under the “Lake Effect” name for over ten years and is confused as to why Lake Effect Diner is just now objecting to their name. In a statement in response to the lawsuit, Lake Effect Ice Cream noted that they are here to fight for the 10 years of hard work it took to create what they see as a premier Buffalo destination for ice cream and remain dedicated to protecting their name. Lake Effect Diner has had a registration for their mark with the USPTO since 2006. Subsequently, Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream filed for USPTO trademark registration and were denied on the basis that the mark is confusingly similar to that of the Lake Effect Diner.