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Sometimes going to court isn't the right option

Life can be messy sometimes. It happens in our personal lives. It can also be evident in the course of business. When conflicts develop it's good to know that the Texas and federal legal systems are in place to provide avenues to resolution.

But just because those doors are there doesn't mean they should always be opened. As we wrote in a post back in July, there often are alternative means for achieving the desired ends. You don't necessarily need a shotgun to take out a mouse.

But knowing what tools are available and which one is right for a given job is something that comes with experience. And so it is that it is always advisable for the wise person confronted with a business dilemma to consult with a skilled attorney.

This comes to mind in light of a recent news story out of Austin. The disputants in the case are the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo as plaintiffs and a Conroe, Texas, restaurant that operates under the name of El Rodeo as defendant.

The issue in dispute is that Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo wants to change its corporate name to Rodeo Austin, but the Texas Secretary of State's office has so far denied the request because the name is too much like El Rodeo Inc. The state says that hurdle can be cleared if Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo gets written permission to use its name from El Rodeo officials.

The plaintiffs report that efforts to reach El Rodeo representatives have been made but have been unsuccessful and so they've filed a federal lawsuit in Houston to press the matter.

The plaintiffs claim that they have used the Rodeo Austin name in some way or another since 1938 and that it's the restaurant that is infringing on the trademark. By way of compensation for the alleged unfair competition and dilution of trade, Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo wants the restaurant to pay an amount equal to any profits it has earned.

Meanwhile, the purported president of El Rodeo Inc. is on record as saying that the plaintiffs sent their communication for permission to a wrong address. And he suggests he'd be willing to resolve the matter through direct negotiation.

Source: MyStatesman.com, "Austin rodeo locked in name battle with restaurant," Gary Dinges, Nov. 10, 2015

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