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Manhattan deli can keep its “heart attack” sandwiches

Las Vegas-based Heart Attack Grill claimed menu items infringed its trademarks

New Yorkers who enjoy scarfing down massive calorie-laden sandwiches at a famous local kosher deli can rejoice.

Manhattan’s well-known 2nd Ave Deli sells a $25 culinary creation called the Instant Heart Attack Sandwich, which features layers upon layers of corned beef, pastrami, turkey or salami packed between two potato latkes. Last year, Las Vegas-based Heart Attack Grill threatened to sue the New York deli over the Instant Heart Attack as well as a new sandwich called the Triple Bypass Sandwich that was in the works at the time. According to the Nevada restaurant’s cease-and-desist letter, the New York establishment’s sandwiches infringed its trademarks for its various heart attack-themed burgers, including the Quadruple Bypass Burger, which features four half-pound beef patties, eight slices of American cheese, a whole tomato and half an onion.

But on Friday, U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer said there were enough differences between the two restaurants’ menu items. He gave 2nd Ave Deli the OK to continue selling its Instant Heart Attack sandwich at current and future Manhattan locations, and he also said the deli can advertise the sandwich on its signage. However, he said, the deli can’t advertise the Instant Heart Attack sandwich at non-Manhattan locations and can only reference the new Triple Bypass Sandwich on its menu, not on its signage, at current locations.

Additionally, Judge Engelmayer admonished the litigants about using the court system for such a dispute.

“In the event that future quarrels arise, the court strongly encourages the parties to eschew provocative cease-and-desist letters or precipitous lawsuits, and instead to work together to try to resolve their differences cooperatively,” he said.

Read Reuters and the Wall Street Journal for more details on the sandwich squabble.

Ashley Post

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