Scratch Kitchen founder: Will fight “bullying” Skratch Labs suit

BOULDER — Scratch Kitchen isn’t backing down from a lawsuit from fellow Boulder business Skratch Labs LLC that claims the company’s names are too similar. Michael Joseph, founder of the Scratch Kitchen take-out and delivery concept, told BizWest that he believes Skratch Labs’ suit is a frivolous attempt to pry a settlement payment from Scratch Kitchen.  “This is bullying,” Joseph said. “And it’s bullying during a pandemic when small businesses are suffering.” Scratch Kitchen, a trade name for Delivery Native LLC, launched in March, while Skratch Labs, which markets sports hydration supplements, energy bars, baking mixes and cookbooks, was founded in 2012. Skratch Labs’ suit, filed two months ago in U.S. District Court in Denver, claims that by adopting a similar name, Scratch Kitchen’s owners have “caused actual confusion, and are likely to continue to cause confusion and to deceive consumers and the public regarding the source of defendant’s products and to harm the distinctive quality of Skratch Labs’ marks.” In an email to BizWest Thursday, Skratch Labs attorney Michael Laszlo with Boulder’s LaszloLaw firm said, “From its inception, Skratch Labs has offered prepackaged sports nutrition, catering services, and operated a mobile food truck that traveled the country serving fresh food at countless events. Because of this and its owned trademarks, Skratch Labs attempted as early as March 2020 to cordially notify Delivery Native that it was infringing upon Skratch Labs trademarks with its name ‘Scratch Kitchen.’ While using the same name in the same category is an obvious trademark issue, it was actual consumer confusion that caused Skratch Labs to reach out to Delivery Native’s CEO Michael Joseph at that early date.  After initially speaking with Mr. Joseph, Skratch Labs’ concerns were ignored by Mr. Joseph.” Laszlo claims that after the initial suit was filed “Joseph began attacking Skratch Labs’ employees and owners, threatening physical, psychological, and business harm to Skratch Labs, rather than enter good faith negotiations.” When asked about Laszlo’s comments, Joseph said, “I can’t respond to that assortment of allegations — what they’re doing to us, we think that’s bullying.” Joseph, along with Scratch Kitchen attorneys who filed a counterclaim this week, argue that there is no evidence of confusion, lost sales, decrease in value or negative consumer perception for Skratch Labs as a result of the name similarity.  Skratch Labs’ “target customers looking for sports nutrition that is manufactured and designed to help them perform better will not be confused and purchase fried chicken and custom macaroni and cheese thinking that it comes from [Skratch Labs],” Scratch Kitchen court documents say.  The filing continues: “Skratch Labs does not provide you a meal. And yet they want to stop others from using the word ‘scratch’ for getting a meal made from scratch in a kitchen.” In 2017, Skratch Labs sued VF Outdoor LLC over claims that the brand SmartWool’s logo included a colorful mosaic design that was too similar to a pattern used in Skratch Labs branding. That case was voluntarily dismissed later three months after […]
Source: BizWest

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