TribLIVE

| Business


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

GNC sues over similar name

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

Saturday, May 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

General Nutrition Centers Inc. is suing a Florida chain of pawnshops over the use of its name.

The Pittsburgh retailer, which operates 8,100 nutritional products stores worldwide, filed the lawsuit two weeks ago in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., against Gold N Connection LLC, which operates five pawnshops and a website under the names GNC Pawn and gncpawn.com.

General Nutrition said it has used the GNC for its retail operations since at least 1963. Gold N Connection registered that name in Florida on Dec. 19, 2007, according to its attorney Douglas J. Jeffrey.

Using the name GNC Pawn is likely to dilute General Nutrition's trademark “by blurring its distinctiveness,” the retailer claimed. GNC “instantly identifies and distinguishes GNC and its products and services in the minds of consumers.” It became famous long before GNC Pawn started using that name, the lawsuit said.

Gold N Connection is a family-owned company with pawn shops in Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Margate and Oakland Park in Broward County, Fla., plus its website.

“GNC is delusional if it believes that the public will be confused into thinking the GNCPawn.com sells vitamins or dietary supplements. ... We do not sell nutritional products,” said owner Joshua Davis in a statement released Friday by his attorney.

General Nutrition claimed that GNC Pawn used similar block-style lettering as the retailer's GNC logo and the same red coloring.

“The fonts and typefaces are completely different,” said Davis.

GNC Pawn's shops and signs are located within about five miles of 13 GNC nutrition stores, General Nutrition said in the lawsuit.

“That had nothing to do with their selection” of a name, said attorney Jeffrey, who represents GNC Pawn.

“This lawsuit presents a classic case of David and Goliath,” Jeffrey said. “We will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit.”

General Nutrition as a matter of corporate policy does not comment on pending litigation, spokeswoman Laura Brophy wrote in an email.

It wants the court to bar use of the GNC Pawn name, deliver to General Nutrition all signage and other materials used, and pay damages of three times the amount of Gold N Connection's profits.

John D. Oravecz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7882 or joravecz@tribweb.com.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Auto technology gives mobile computing a new meaning
  2. Earlier openings make Black Friday shopping easier for bargain-hunters
  3. OPEC decision on crude sets small producers on perilous path, analysts say
  4. Trib 30 index surpasses August high
  5. Use credit wisely while holiday shopping
  6. Mirai debut brings  fuel cell future closer
  7. Energy stocks ‘hammered’ as crude oil tumbles
  8. Change in Freddie, Fannie policy eases buy-backs of foreclosed homes
  9. October mine inspections result in 127 citations
  10. Committee looks into beneficial uses of coal ash
  11. Company seeks to reopen coal mine in Nottingham, Washington County
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.