At this point, even people who have never watched an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants have probably heard of the plucky invertebrate fry cook’s workplace, “The Krusty Krab.” While the restaurant name is meant to be an amusingly unappetizing alliteration, apparently somebody thought it would be a good idea to call an actual eatery the same thing. IJR Capital Investments filed a trademark application in Texas for usage of the name “The Krusty Krab” in 2014. When Viacom, the corporation that owns Nickelodeon and the rights to the Spongebob-related trademarks, heard about it they quickly issued a cease and desist letter. In neither ceasing nor desisting, IJR maintained that their use was in no way an infringement on Viacom’s fictional cartoon fast food joint because it was, you know, fictional.
While the legal squabbles between business entities could potentially bore you to tears, there is some fun to be had in wading through the original complaint filed by Viacom in 2016. For example, if you’ve ever needed an expressly accurate description of Bikini Bottom’s favorite burger joint, you can’t get much more thorough than this:
The “Krusty Krab” is owned by Eugene H. Krabs, a prominent and recurring character in the SpongeBob universe. SpongeBob SquarePants works at the “Krusty Krab” as a fry cook, but he also performs a myriad of other duties, and once stated that his official title is “Vice Assistant General Manager in charge of certain things.” The “Krusty Krab” is the scene of many comical exchanges between SpongeBob and his co-worker, Squidward Tentacles. SpongeBob loves his job and considers Squidward a close friend; Squiward hates his job and does not like SpongeBob. “Krusty Krab”’s chief competitor is the “Chum Bucket,” which is owned by Sheldon J. Plankton, Mr. Krabs’ worst enemy. “The “Krusty Krab” maintains an advantage over the “Chum Bucket” based upon the popularity of its “Krabby Patty” burger.
Before you try to get cute and open your own seafood shack under a different spelling, the future trademarking intended by Viacom includes “any other similar variation or phonetic equivalent, in connection with its restaurant services.” And frankly, I’d think “The Crusty Crab” spelled correctly is even more of a turnoff.