2017-09-13 / News

Food fight erupts over pierogi-related festival names

BY THE CONSORTIUM FOR COMMON FOOD NAMES

A lawsuit over the name of a smalltown festival intensifies the debate over geographical names.

Names connected with food delicacies are a source of heated discourse around the world, as further evidenced by a new federal court case over whether the town of Edwardsville, Pennsylvania, can continue to hold an annual “Edwardsville Pierogi Festival” or must yield to the “Pierogi Fest” that is held 700 miles away in Whiting, Indiana, just outside Chicago.

The pierogi is a potato-filled dumpling common in U.S. communities populated by Polish immigrants more than a century ago.

The Whiting chamber of commerce says Pennsylvania pierogi fans are infringing on its trademark. Lawyers for the Whiting “Pierogi Fest” recently sent a letter demanding the Edwardsville organizers either stop using the name or pay a licensing fee.

The fight has landed in federal court, where Edwardsville lawyers filed a lawsuit last month against the organizers of the Whiting event.

The Associated Press quotes Edwardsville leaders as incredulous.

“People are beside themselves. It’s ridiculous,” said Jackie Kubish Moran, president of the Edwardsville Hometown Committee, which runs the Pennsylvania event.

“No person on planet Earth is going to confuse [the two events],” said Jim Haggerty, the lawyer for the Edwardsville group. “We don’t think they’re acting in good faith, and we think they’re bullies.”

Hopefully by next festival season the two parties will have settled their differences over a few tasty dumplings.

The Consortium for Common Food Names is an independent, international non-profit alliance that represents the interests of consumers, farmers, food producers and retailers. We are working to protect worldwide the right to use common food names.

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