LOS ANGELES • It is not an endangered species, but The Krusty Krab has received special protection.
It is actually a greasy spoon featured in the popular children's television series SpongeBob SquarePants, produced by Viacom.
The 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that IJR Capital Investments and its owner Javier Ramos cannot use The Krusty Krab name for a planned roll-out of a seafood chain.
Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen wrote that Viacom proved that diners would likely be confused if IJR used the name of the restaurant in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom, where SpongeBob works as a fry cook.
While Viacom had not registered The Krusty Krab with the US Patent and Trademark Office, the name was important enough to the SpongeBob series to deserve trademark protection. The judge noted that The Krusty Krab has appeared in 166 of 203 SpongeBob episodes since its 1999 premiere on Viacom's Nickelodeon network, as well as two feature films.
Mr Ramos claimed not to have heard of The Krusty Krab when he began fishing for a name and chose it after checking Google and finding no restaurants using that moniker.