Two Austin restaurants, paleo-friendly Picnik and Japanese spot Bento Picnic, are currently locked in a lawsuit over use of the word “picnic” in their business names, as reported by the Statesman. Picnik filed a lawsuit last fall against Bento Picnic, alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition.
The lawsuit alleges that the two businesses are similar, given that both restaurants offer coffee, chocolate chip cookies, curry, guacamole with crudité, and blondies. Picnik also alleges the logos are similar, although Picnik’s logo often includes the text “Real food + good vibes.”
Judge Robert Pitman is deciding whether it will be dismissed or go to trial. Picnik founder Naomi Seifter declined to comment on the case. Her restaurant and business raised $7.5 million last year from a private equity firm to grow the retail drinks and cafe business.
“This lawsuit has presented me with incredible hardship in my first year of operating the restaurant,” Bento Picnic owner Leanne Valenti told the Statesman. “My intention is to do everything I can to keep them from bullying me out of business with their ability to outspend me.”
Picnik’s first food trailer opened in 2013 on South Lamar, followed by an expansion to Burnet Road, plus a line of butter coffee drinks for retail.
Bento Picnic was founded in 2015 as a made-to-order food service and farmers market stand, and opened its shop on East Cesar Chavez last year. Valenti told the Statesman she has been developing the idea since 2011, after she had a lunch of bento boxes in the park with friends.