The legal woes continue for a downtown Spokane bar that incited a national firestorm for naming a drink “Date Grape Koolaid” earlier this year.
Kechia Matadin, owner of an Atlanta bar and grill named “The Daiquiri Factory,” has joined Gonzaga University in suing owner Jamie Pendleton and “The Daiquiri Factory Spokane” alleging the company stole her name and tarnished her business’s reputation as a result of the controversy. Protests over the drink’s name, featured prominently in online ads for the bar, prompted a rebranding earlier this year.
Pendleton declined comment on the lawsuits at his business downtown Thursday afternoon.
Matadin said she planned to expand her brand, which she started in 2010. As a result of the backlash on social media linking her business to the Spokane location, she’ll open her second daiquiri bar under a different name later this year.
The controversy in Spokane was brought to her attention by Facebook posts on her business’s page by users angered after linking the Atlanta bar to Pendleton’s.
“I was constantly defending myself,” Matadin said.
Date Grape Koolaid sparked outrage soon after the bar’s menu was posted on Facebook shortly before the bar opened in February. Nearly 100 protesters gathered outside the Wall Street location downtown protesting The Daiquiri Factory’s grand opening and calling for owners to change the drink’s name. The beverage, a mixture of a house Kool-Aid recipe and rum, is now called “Grapevine Q-lade,” according to the bar’s Facebook page.
The name change did not appease Gonzaga, which alleges Pendleton and his corporation infringed their trademark logo and mascot in promotions during the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The university sued in federal court demanding the bar stop using the bulldog mascot and pay for its unapproved use.
Pendleton denies those allegations and says the mascot used in promotions outside the downtown business was a generic bulldog covered under fair-use practices and free speech, according to court records filed Wednesday.
“The ‘bulldog’ is a generic icon, image, graphic, or mascot used by numerable educational institutions of all levels; and is not eligible for trademark protection,” according to Pendleton’s response to Gonzaga’s lawsuit.
Matadin’s lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Spokane’s federal court, also alleges trademark infringement. She registered the moniker “The Daiquiri Factory” with the U.S. Patent Office in October 2012.
The Atlanta club owner sent a cease-and-desist letter to Pendleton in February asking him to remove the club’s Facebook page. Facebook later removed the site due to a violation of its terms of service, according to court documents, after someone posting through the bar’s official account mocked the concerns of protesters, calling them “haters.” It has since been reinstated.
Matadin, who also uses humorous names to sell her “smoothies with a kick,” as she calls them, said she couldn’t understand why a bar owner would name their drink “Date Grape.”
“No way,” she said. “I don’t even understand that as a business owner. Public opinion matters.”
A message for Pendleton’s attorney was not returned Thursday.