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Rulli Brothers sues Campbell flea market

Says deli with similar name misleads buyers

YOUNGSTOWN — The owners of Rulli Brothers stores have filed a trademark infringement complaint in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, alleging that the Four Seasons Flea & Farm Market in Campbell is selling items from its business under a name too similar.

The suit alleges that the flea market has offered and advertised grocery services under the name “Rulli’s Deli,” and the flea market is within eight miles of the Rulli Brothers stores in Youngstown and Austintown.

Rulli Brothers, which has operated a family grocery business since 1917, is known as “Rulli’s,” “Rulli Brothers,” “Rulli Bros.,” “Rulli Bros. Market,” and “Rulli Brothers Market,” the suit states.

Rulli Brothers opened a grocery store on Kirk Road in Austintown in February 1988 and opened a second store on South Avenue in Youngstown in March 2009, the suit states.

Rulli Brothers registered the “Rulli Brothers Market” and “Rulli Bros. Market” trade names with the state in 1997 and has spent extensive time, money and resources to develop and build a market for its grocery stores, specialty items, prepared foods, deli meats and other items, the suit states.

The flea and farm market, which has been in business on McCartney Road since 1992, “promoted, adopted and / or used” the name “Rulli’s Deli” “with the intent of trading on the long-established goodwill and reputation built by” Rulli Brothers, the suit alleges.

Attorney Michael Marando of Canfield, who court records indicate represents Four Seasons in the case, did not return a phone call seeking comment. A call to Richard Barr, statutory agent for the business, also was not returned.

“The false designation ‘Rulli’s Deli’ being used by (Four Seasons) is so similar to (Rulli Brothers names), such as “Rulli’s” “Rulli Brothers Market,” and “Rulli Bros Market,” when used on identical services and goods, such as deli items, that customers are likely to believe … that (Four Seasons’) services and goods originated from (Rulli Brothers) or are in some way affiliated, connected, associate with, or are selected, sold or approved by” Rulli Brothers, the suit alleges.

Four Seasons has knowingly used unfair competition in using the Rulli’s Deli name, and Rulli Brothers likely is to continue to be injured as a result of Four Seasons’ actions by diverting sales from Rulli Brothers to Four Seasons or loss of goodwill that Rulli Brothers currently enjoys with the buying public, the suit alleges.

The suit, filed by attorney Elizabeth Farbman of Youngstown, seeks a order indicating that Four Seasons used a false designation and an order that Four Seasons pay an unspecified amount of monetary and punitive damages.

erunyan@vindy.com

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