7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Case Name: Grubhub, Inc. v. Relish Labs LLC
Case No.: 22-1950
Officials: Wood, Jackson-Akiwumi, and Lee, Circuit Judges.
Focus: Trademark Infringement-Injunction
Since 2013, Home Chef has been in the business of curating and delivering meal kits. In 2014, Home Chef introduced its distinctive “HC Home Mark,” which is protected by five federal trademark registrations. Subsequently, Home Chef joined forces with Kroger, and now it not only delivers meals directly to customers but also offers them for sale in Kroger stores, through Kroger’s website, and via various food delivery services.
On the other side of the spectrum, Grubhub, a prominent online food-ordering and delivery marketplace, possesses a multitude of trademark registrations encompassing the GRUBHUB name and various stylized versions thereof. In 2021, Grubhub underwent an acquisition by JET, a company with an extensive global presence in the food delivery industry. JET has been utilizing its “JET House Mark” since 2014 and often combines this mark with local brand names when conducting business in different countries. JET had initiated an international trademark application for the JET House Mark, but it faced challenges from a USPTO examiner who deemed it “highly similar” and “confusingly similar” to Home Chef’s HC Home Mark and Home Chef Home Logo. Consequently, JET withdrew its application. Later, JET merged the GRUBHUB word mark with the JET House Mark, investing substantial resources in rebranding its print and electronic materials.
In response to a cease-and-desist letter from Home Chef, Grubhub initiated legal proceedings by seeking a declaratory judgment asserting that its logo did not infringe upon Home Chef’s trademarks. The Seventh Circuit upheld the denial of Home Chef’s request for a preliminary injunction, with the district court’s determination being upheld. It was found that Home Chef did not sufficiently demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of its infringement claim, and no clear errors were identified in this judgment.