Las Vegas-based restaurant Heart Attack Grill has filed a trademark lawsuit against East Ridge's Heart Attack Shack.
The lawsuit, filed March 27 in the Middle District of Tennessee Court, accuses Heart Attack Shack operators of trying to dupe consumers with a similar name and concept, according to legal profession publication Law360.
"Heart Attack Shack intends that their customers believe that their services and goods are sponsored, approved by or emanate from Heart Attack Grill," also according to Law360.
Heart Attack Grill is a hospital-themed restaurant in downtown Las Vegas. It has become internationally famous for embracing and promoting an unhealthy diet of incredibly large hamburgers, according to the business' website. Customers are referred to as "patients," orders as "prescriptions" and the waitresses as "nurses."
Heart Attack Shack is a burgers, wings, nachos and fries restaurant in East Ridge. They offer portions of all sizes. The shack also offers a burger eating challenge that can net a customer a free meal and T-shirt.
The name of the local restaurant came from an experience the general manager had at another restaurant, according to Nooga.com archives.
"The story behind the name is that customers would come in and order a 'heart attack,'" general manager Justin Howarth said recently.
The "heart attack" refers to an order of fries "smothered with shredded cheese, jalapeños, bacon and our signature heart attack sauce," according to Heart Attack Shack's menu.
Howarth said Tuesday he couldn't comment on the lawsuit and directed Nooga.com to the business' lawyer, who couldn't be reached.
Heart Attack Grill's lawyer was not immediately available, either.
Chambliss Bahner & Stophel Law Chair of Intellectual Property David Hill said the key to trademark rights and infringement is confusion.
"The defense would have to prove that confusion is unlikely," he said. "The dominant portion of both trademarks is 'Heart Attack.'"
Hill added that whoever came first has superior rights.
For background on Heart Attack Shack, click here.
Eric Wise is a contributing writer. He is currently attending UTC, where he is a staff writer for the school newspaper, The University Echo. He also serves as the alumni relations chairman for his fraternity.