By Karen Morfitt
BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – A Boulder-based restaurant company is suing celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck over trademark violations.
The Kitchen’s first location was in Boulder, and opened in 2004. Over the last 12 years they have opened several more restaurants in Colorado, including one at 16th and Wazee streets in Denver.
In addition, they’ve expanded their brand to Chicago, and Memphis. One of the founders of the restaurant, Kimbal Musk (brother of Elon Musk), met with Wolfgang Puck in 2012 for advice. Then last year Puck started opening a new chain of restaurants also called The Kitchen.
Courtney Walsh is the marketing director for Musk’s company.
“We’re just simply asking that they find another name,” she said.
In addition to the name there are also similarities in the logos, which prompted Musk to file a federal lawsuit.
“It erodes the brand and that’s really the fear, is that their brand is simply not our brand promise that we have continued to create. And that they are really using our goodwill that we’ve created with the communities that we’ve worked with,” Walsh said.
The lawsuit claims Puck’s company is violating trademark law and that he stole the idea after his meeting with Musk in 2012.
“He really unveiled all of his plans to Wolfgang, under the guise of mentorship and he trusted him. So to turn around and have Wolfgang and his team open ‘The Kitchen’ it’s like a punch in the gut,” Walsh said.
CBS4’s request for comment went unanswered, though a statement was issued to Nations Restaurant News on behalf of Puck and his company.
The statement read in part “we consider the action without merit and will defend vigorously.”
Karen Morfitt Joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around metro Denver. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.