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Rulli Brothers drops trademark lawsuit

Dispute brought on by outdated website listing

YOUNGSTOWN — The owners of Rulli Brothers grocery stores dropped a trademark infringement complaint against the Four Seasons Flea & Farm Market over the use of “Rulli’s Deli.”

The decision came after Michael P. Marando of Canfield, the flea market’s attorney, filed a response to the lawsuit that a former vendor there, Joseph Rulli, had a registered trade name of “Rulli Produce and Deli,” but last operated at the location more than 12 years ago.

The flea market, located on McCartney Road in Youngstown, didn’t update its website since 2007, when it was created, until this past June 24, after the lawsuit was filed, and removed the Rulli reference.

Marando’s response states: “Although the Four Seasons’ website had contained the reference to Rulli’s Deli for over 13 years prior to the filing of this lawsuit, plaintiff never objected to Four Seasons’ use of the name until the filing of this lawsuit.”

F.A.R. Foods Inc., Rulli Brothers parent company, filed the lawsuit last month after seeing an advertisement for the flea market in The Vindicator that included Rulli Deli. The ad information came from the flea market’s website.

The lawsuit sought an order indicating Four Seasons used a false designation and an order that the flea market pay an unspecified amount of monetary and punitive damages.

F.A.R. Foods, through its attorney, Elizabeth H. Farbman of Youngstown, had the case dismissed Wednesday.

Rulli Brothers, a family grocery business since 1917, has stores on Kirk Road in Austintown and on South Avenue in Boardman.

The initial claim was F.A.R. Foods had registered “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.

In the Four Seasons’ response, Marando wrote that Joseph Rulli’s R. Fresh LLC, had “Rulli Produce and Deli” as a registered trade name from Nov. 6, 2003, to Nov. 6, 2008, and it’s still an active Ohio corporation.

“Four Seasons does not currently have a deli and, to the best of its belief, has not had one since Joseph Rulli left the flea market,” Marando wrote. “Nonetheless, Four Seasons inadvertently and innocently (and without any intent to deceive its customers) did not modify that website since 2007, when it was created, until June 24.”

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