Food fight erupts over Pennsylvania ‘Pierogi Festival’ name

In a June 9, 2017 photo, John Vishefski from Tarnowski's Kielbasa waits on customers during the 2017 Edwardsville Pierogi Festival in Edwardsville, Pa. The Pennsylvania celebration of the popular Polish treat is embroiled in a food fight after the Whiting Pierogi Fest in Indiana threatened a trademark infringement lawsuit over the use of the name "Pierogi Festival." (Frank C. Lauri/The Times & Tribune via AP)

EDWARDSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A suburban Chicago food festival says it’s justified in threatening a trademark infringement lawsuit over a Pennsylvania group’s use of the name “Pierogi Festival.”

Lawyers for Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana, recently sent a letter demanding the Edwardsville Hometown Committee stop using the name or pay royalties.

Pierogi Fest Chairman Tom Dabertin said Tuesday, “If you have a trademark you have to protect it.”

Both festivals are built around the popular Polish delicacy. The Whiting group registered its trademark in 2007 and says the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival will cause “consumer confusion.”

Pennsylvania lawyers call that absurd, noting the festivals are 700 miles apart. They filed a lawsuit Monday against organizers of the Whiting event.

The fourth annual Edwardsville Pierogi Festival was held in June. The 23rd edition of the Whiting Pierogi Fest was held last weekend.

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This story has been corrected to show Whiting has held its Pierogi Fest for 23 years, not 143 years.

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