Can't Whiting, IN and Edwardsville, PA's pierogi lovers just get along?
A pierogi festival is a pierogi festival, right? Wrong. The Pierogi Festival, some say, is a trademarked name—and they are willing to fight for the right to keep it in court.
Two cities boasting the popular fests are feuding, Citizens' Voice reports. Attorneys for the Whiting Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana have sent a cease-and-desist letter to Edwardsville Hometown Committee, home to the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival in Pennsylvania, demanding the latter fest stop using the trademarked name—or pay royalties as a penalty. The lawyers say the name "Pierogi Festival" was trademarked to Whiting, which is located just outside of Chicago, in 1994, and Edwardsville's use is "unfair competition" and could "cause consumer confusion."
But attorneys in Edwardsville aren't buying it. They've slapped back, filing a suit on Monday in a federal court, saying their festival isn't a competitor to Whiting's. After all, they argue, the fests are held some 700 miles away, and are unlikely to attract the same consumers. What's more, they argue, the general name isn't a trademark.
The suit requests the city be able to continue using the name, and seeks damages because Whiting threatened to hold Edwardsville's festival sponsors liable, too.
The organizers of Edwardsville's annual fest "is a group of local volunteers who are simply trying to help their community," Jackie Kubish Moran, president of the group who runs the festival, told the Citizens' Voice. And those volunteers "are fighting to save the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival. We are shocked that a Chamber of Commerce from the Chicago area would threaten to sue us for volunteer work that we do."
According to the Citizens' Voice, Edwardsville held its fourth annual Edwardsville Pierogi Festival in June, while Whiting held its 23rd Whiting Pierogi Fest last weekend.
So to see how things shake out, we may have to wait until next year to see who calls their event what. Until then, you could just hold your own pierogi fest at home (but maybe don't call it a "Pierogi Festival," to be safe).