FALL RIVER - There's a battle brewing in Fall River over the famous Lizzie Borden House. It was the site of a gruesome murder in the 1890s. The owner of the home is now taking aim at a coffee shop next door that sports a similar name.
The lore of the home dates back to the murder of Lizzie Borden's father and stepmother. They were killed by repeated blows with a hatchet. Lizzie was tried for their murders and acquitted.
Her home is now a bed and breakfast owned by US Ghost Adventures. A month ago, a Fall River father and his daughter opened Miss Lizzie's Coffee two doors down. The spooky brew spot has various nods to the Borden family. The Lizzie Borden House is now suing the shop for copyright infringement.
"They obtained the Lizzie Borden trademark, but it's for hotel services and restaurant services," explains Daniel Larson, the attorney for the owners of Miss Lizzie's Coffee. "The issue here is we believe the Lizzie Borden trademark is being expanded into a different class of goods and service."
Per court documents, the company has the naming rights to "Lizzie Borden," however the coffee shop only uses the name Lizzie.
"They don't have a trademark for Lizzie. Their trademark is for Lizzie Borden, the full name. When you look at a trademark, it's as a whole," explains Larson, "Nobody owns the rights to the history of Lizzie Borden. That's another issue here."
We reached out to US Ghost Adventures for comment, however they said they will not be speaking until the matter is resolved.
The two sides will now go to court over the issue. It will come 130 years after Lizzie Borden left her own court case a free woman. When it comes to the case itself, Larson says the general standard is if the names create consumer confusion.
"It's pretty basic. You look at whether two consumers would be confused about who owns the business," explains Larson.
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