The sight is familiar to anyone from Wisconsin. Al Johnson's restaurant in Sister Bay, Door County (the "thumb" sticking into Lake Michigan is a classic vacation destination) has goats on the roof. I've eaten there several times and enjoyed the outstanding Scandinavian cuisine.
But I was disappointed to read this week that the restaurant sued another restaurant last year after discovering that the other one had also been using goats on their roof to attract customers.
Another restaurant in Sister Bay? No. Was it in Door County? No. In Wisconsin?? No. The other establishment (a market, not a restaurant) was 750 miles away - in Georgia forcryingoutloud.
Last year, he discovered that Tiger Mountain Market in Rabun County, Ga., had been grazing goats on its grass roof since 2007. Putting goats on the roof wasn't illegal. The violation, Al Johnson's alleged in a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, was that Tiger Mountain used the animals to woo business.The rest of the story is at The Wall Street Journal. I fully understand the importance of copyright and trademark rights, but this case appears to me to be particularly small-minded. Our family will be vacationing in Door County again, but my dining plans will be to explore some other restaurants.
The suit declared: "Notwithstanding Al Johnson's Restaurant's prior, continuous and extensive use of the Goats on the Roof Trade Dress"—a type of trademark—"defendant Tiger Mountain Market opened a grocery store and gift shop in buildings with grass on the roofs and allows goats to climb on the roofs of its buildings."
Al Johnson's "demanded that Defendant cease and desist such conduct, but Defendant has willfully continued to offer food services from buildings with goats on the roof," the suit continued. Danny Benson, the offending market's owner, says that "legally we could fight it, because it is ridiculous...
Photo credit monkey.biz.