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Mutt v. Rutt: New Jersey Hot Dog Giant Rutt's Hut Sues Mutt's Hut

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 18, 2011 12:45 PM

Rutt's Hut sues Mutt's Hut for...

Okay, maybe turning that into a full-fledged tongue twister isn't so easy, but imagine the possibilities.

Anyway, the hot dog scene in Clifton, New Jersey is about to get hut. Rutt's Hut, purveyor of the world's most disgustingly intriguing hot dog, has waged a not-so-culinary war against Mutt's.

They stole Rutt's trademark, the hot dog giant says.

For those not in the know, Rutt's Hut is an old school hot dog joint in Clifton, New Jersey, which is famous for a creation known as the "Ripper." The establishment deep fries hot dogs in pure fat until the casing crackles and splits.

Horrified? Amazed? Not exactly sure over here either. But apparently the people of Clifton (and Food Network) have deemed the Ripper to be a positive step towards culinary perfection.

This is why Rutt's Hut was a bit miffed when Adam's Bagel and Deli, which sits about five miles away, changed its name to Mutt's Hut, reports New Jersey Newsroom. It is a much cooler name.

Rutt's is alleging that Mutt's is confusing patrons and trying to make money off of Rutt's reputation, reports the site. Mutt's owner, however, claims that he has had the trademark to the name since 2006. Rutt's has had its since 1985.

So who is likely to win the Clifton, New Jersey hot dog battle royale? This blogger is calling it for Rutt's Hut.

Trademark infringement law is designed to prevent consumer confusion, and since the names and locations are so similar, confusion is, at the very least, likely for out-of-towners seeking out a Ripper. Additionally, when a court finds confusion and both parties have a registered trademark, the deciding factor is the dates on which the trademarks were first used. It's pretty clear that Rutt's has been using the name the longest.

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