Hermitage perkins

The Perkins in Hermitage has been ordered in court to drop the franchise’s name from its signage.

A federal judge extended an order Tuesday stopping a regional restaurant franchise owner from using Perkins Family Restaurant signs and trademarks.

The ruling, in the U.S. Western District of Tennessee, covers about two dozen locations that had been operating until last week as Perkins restaurants, including three locations in Mercer County, and one each in Lawrence and Crawford counties.

An official from the federal court, based in Memphis, Tenn., said Campbells Land Co. Inc. (CLC) of Monroeville has until Friday to file statements opposing the Perkins parent company’s efforts to prevent the chain’s logo and other trademarks from being used at the western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio restaurants.

In the ruling Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla, the federal court ruled that the injunction, issued last week, would remain in place through the end of July, upholding the Perkins corporate claim against CLC.

On Monday, the day before McCalla’s ruling, CLC filed for bankruptcy, according to court documents filed with the U.S. Western District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh. 

The trademark claim stems from a lawsuit filed by Perkins & Marie Callender’s. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that CLC has failed to pay more than $2 million in franchise royalties and other fees. Further, the court documents reported that repeated attempts to resolve the situation with CLC failed, and as a result, Perkins & Marie Callender’s terminated its franchise license in June.

The lawsuit asks “the court’s assistance’’ in closing the restaurants under the brand name.

CLC also owns Perkins restaurants in Hempfield Township, Grove City, New Castle and Meadville among its 26 restaurants in northwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and New York. All of the Mercer, Crawford and Lawrence Perkins locations had been removed from the Perkins website as of Tuesday.

On Wednesday the websites for the Perkins restaurants in Hermitage, Hempfield Township and Grove City were down. However, it was business as usual at the Perkins restaurant in Sharon.

Officials at the Sharon location refused to comment and sent all inquiries to the Meadville restaurant. The Meadville location also refused comment, referring questions to the Monroeville office. Calls to Monroeville were not returned.

Attempts to contact Perkins and Marie Callender’s corporate spokespeople were also unsuccessful.

Under the temporary restraining order issued last week and extended Tuesday, McCalla ordered that CLC couldn’t use the trademarks or any identity related to a Perkins restaurant, including advertising, equipment, menus, furniture, stationery or other materials, as well as a massive American flag that flies above many restaurants. The order also requires the restaurants to change their telephone numbers.

The order restrains CLC from identifying the businesses as Perkins restaurants or opening competing restaurants within a three-mile radius of each restaurant or any others owned by the parent company.

Court documents indicate that the corporate action against CLC relates to the failure to pay franchise royalties and make required upgrades, and not an action earlier this year by state authorities that left the Grove City Perkins restaurant closed temporarily.

On May 7, the state Department of Agriculture temporarily closed the restaurant on Main Street in Grove City after food safety inspectors determined that a remodeling was interfering with sanitation. The restaurant reopened three days later after a re-inspection.

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