heavy is the head that wears the crown

Popular Austin movie theater sues developer for trademark infringement

Popular Austin movie theater sues developer for trademark infringement

Violet Crown Cinema theater movie
The crown is now up for grabs. Violet Crown Cinema/Facebook

KVUE — The company behind a downtown Austin movie theater is suing the developer behind a planned amphitheater, saying the amphitheater name is a trademark infringement.

Violet Crown Cinemas LLC owns and operates the Violet Crown Austin theater on West Second Street. The Austin location was the company’s first, though it has since opened other locations in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Charlottesville, North Carolina; and plans to open another in Dallas next year.

According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by KVUE, Violet Crown is the owner of several registered trademarks, including “Violet Crown” in connection with movie theaters, the production and distribution of motion pictures, and bar and restaurant services, as well as “Violet Crown Cinemas” in connection with movie theaters.

International Development Management Co. is planning a project near Bee Cave that includes an amphitheater called the Violet Crown Amphitheater. IDM aims to open the first pieces of its Violet Crown project in 2023, with the amphitheater likely opening by Labor Day 2023. Plans for the project also include two luxury apartment towers, a parking garage, a distillery with a tasting room, and a Top Golf-style driving range.

The site is located northwest of State Highway 71 and Southwest Parkway. Since the project was announced in October, it has been met with opposition from environmental advocates who say the development will endanger Barton Creek and its nature preserve.

The lawsuit states that because of the similarity between “Violet Crown Amphitheater” and “Violet Crown” in relation to the theater, Violet Crown has received numerous inquiries about the amphitheater from people who think the company is the developer of the venue.

Violet Crown said because of the confusion and its existing trademarks, it sent IDM a cease-and-desist letter on November 16. Violet Crown said it did receive a response, but it “was not substantive and merely acknowledged receipt of the letter.” The lawsuit states that Violet Crown has not received a “substantive response” to its demand that IDM cease any further use of its trademarks in connection with the proposed amphitheater and “accordingly, Violet Crown has been forced to file this lawsuit to protect its rights.”

The lawsuit states five claims for relief: federal trademark infringement, federal unfair competition, federal trademark dilution of the “Violet Crown” trademark, common law trademark infringement and unfair competition, and state trademark dilution and injury to business reputation.

The lawsuit states that IDM’s use of “Violet Crown Amphitheater,” in addition to allegedly being trademark infringement, is likely to cause “confusion, deception, and mistake” by leading people to believe that IDM’s goods and services are the product of Violet Crown, are associated with the company, or have the sponsorship, endorsement, or approval of the company. Violet Crown said that could cause injury to its business reputation.

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