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Thursday, July 11, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Big Fight Over Big Boy Statue

WASHINGTON (CN) - Big Boy Restaurants says the daughter of the Shoney's Restaurants founder built a 12-foot "Big Boy" statue without permission and displays it at a Shoney's in Charleston, W. Va. Alex "Shoney" Schoenbaum had a Big Boy franchise there for 30 years, but it expired, Big Boy says in its trademark complaint.

Shoney Schoenbaum founded a drive-in restaurant at the site in 1947, and it became a Big Boy franchise in 1951, according to the complaint. The licensing agreement expired or was terminated in 1982, and Schoenbaum went on to develop the Shoney's chain, which, like Big Boy, has more than 100 outlets.

Big Boy says that Schoenbaum's daughter Emily, the defendant, replicated the Big Boy statue and displays it along with other Big Boy and Shoney's memorabilia to pay homage to her father and the first Shoney's.

Big Boy says Emily Schoenbaum "distributed hamburgers and drinks to the public at the statue," and "publicized that they were 'Big Boy' hamburgers," though they actually are Shoney's burgers.

It also claims that Shoney's uses the Big Boy trademark on its Web site to ask the public to donate memorabilia from the early Shoney's.

"The statue has caused consumers to exit the highway and/or approach the statue in the expectation of discovering a Big Boy's Restaurant," Big Boy says.

Big Boys seeks damages for trademark infringement, copyright infringement and unfair trade. And it wants her to take down the Big Boy.

Big Boy is represented by Kathleen Holmes with Williams Mullen of McLean, Va.

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