Business & Real Estate

Is it a restaurant or a tire shop? Firestone Public House sued over name

Firestone Public House patrons await the start of the Super Bowl on February 1, 2015.
Firestone Public House patrons await the start of the Super Bowl on February 1, 2015. garrison@sacbee.com

A branch of the massive multinational Bridgestone Corp. has filed a civil suit against the Firestone Public House restaurant and bar in Sacramento, alleging “trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition.”

The suit filed July 12 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento hinges on the pub’s use of the “Firestone” name.

Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone. The suit was filed by Palo Alto-based attorney Morgan Smith on behalf of Bridgestone Brands LLC in Nashville, Tenn.

Attempts to get comment from Smith and Bridgestone were unsuccessful.

The suit notes that the local dining and drinking establishment at 16 and L streets “is no stranger to Firestone” and points out that the site was a longtime Firestone tire shop that operated there from 1929 through 2004.

Bridgestone Brands alleges that the Sacramento pub’s unauthorized use of the Firestone name and trademark “is likely to cause confusion, mistake and deception as to the source or origin” of the restaurant’s services and products. The suit adds that Firestone Public House sells beverages and assorted merchandise bearing the Firestone name.

Firestone Public House is a partnership between the de Vere Whites, who oversee the de Vere’s Irish Pub sites in Sacramento and Davis, and the Wong family, which also owns Cafeteria 15L, the Iron Horse Tavern and other local establishments.

“We are aware of the suit and are working through the details to properly respond,” Firestone Public House co-owner Mason Wong said Thursday in a statement.

The suit contends that the local restaurant’s product labeling falsely suggests a relationship between the pub and the internationally known Firestone brand. If that continues, the suit contends, it “will further damage and irreparably injure Firestone, the Firestone mark, Firestone’s reputation and goodwill, and the public’s interest in being free from confusion.”

The suit seeks multiple forms of judgment and relief, including removal of all Firestone signage, destruction of all items bearing the Firestone name (including menus, coasters and napkins), a payment to Bridgestone of previous profits amassed by the restaurant’s use of the Firestone name and unspecified damages.

Firestone Public House touts 60 beers on tap, a diverse food menu and 22 flat-screen TVs on-site.

Sacramento Bee dining critic Carla Meyer picks her favorite menu items of the year.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

  Comments