Published on: May 2, 2006
The Sacramento Bee
reports that as Grocery Outlet tussles with Albertsons over the use of the Lucky retail brand name, the new store bearing the Lucky name may be a little underwhelming.
"While some shoppers welcomed the wider aisles, cleaner look and improved selection in certain departments, others came away disappointed," the Bee
writes, adding, "some shoppers complained that the new Lucky is too similar to the old Grocery Outlet – far smaller, at 13,500 square feet, than most supermarkets, and lacking many of the amenities, like a deli counter, that consumers want."
Grocery Outlet is the California-based chain that recently put up the Lucky banner on one of its newly renovated stores, saying that because Albertsons hadn't used the name for six years it no longer had legal rights to the name. Grocery Outlet has been citing federal law, saying that companies that do not use trademarked names for three years then lose exclusive rights to those trademarks.
Albertsons, which inherited the Lucky brand when it acquired American Stores, had in fact stopped using the brand – though this hasn't prevented it from trying to maintain rights to the name through legal recourse. The company also is trying to find some evidence anywhere that it hadn’t completely abandoned the brand, though Grocery Outlet's investigators are confident that no such evidence exists. A federal judge in San Francisco denied Albertsons a temporary restraining order that would have kept Grocery Outlet from using the name, but there likely will be numerous court dates before any sort of final decision is reached.
Furthermore, Grocery Outlet has filed a lawsuit against the larger retailer charging it with trademark infringement and unfair competition. The filing, in part, says that Albertsons' actions in the Lucky case "are likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, and/or to deceive customers and potential customers of the parties, at least as to some affiliation, connection, or association of defendants with Grocery Outlet, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of defendants’ goods, services, or commercial activities by Grocery Outlet."