The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has seen enormous success with the popular Asian Lantern Festival every summer for the past few years.
Now, the Pittsburgh Zoo is set to host the same type of event and is Cleveland is responding to the Steel City zoo through “legal action in the U.S. District Court of Cleveland.”
The Metroparks has filed a copyright claim against Pittsburgh over the use of the ‘Asian Lantern Festival’ phrase, which the Metroparks “to own a trademark on.”
From WKYC 3News Cleveland:
Legal documents obtained by 3News show that the Cleveland Metroparks, under the name Cleveland Metropolitan Park District, filed a verified complaint for a temporary restraining order, as well as a preliminary and permanent injunction and damages over the Pittsburgh Zoo’s use of the phrase.
In a statement to 3News, Cleveland Metroparks Communication Manager Jeff Tolman says that the Pittsburgh Zoo toured the Asian Lantern Festival in 2020 before creating promotional and marketing materials for a similar event in Pittsburgh set for the summer of 2021, under the same trademarked name.
“Asian Lantern Festival has become a summer staple in Cleveland and we want to protect our event and the reputation and success we have achieved over the past several years,” Tolman told 3News.
Court documents show that the Metroparks has “an agreement with Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc., a company specializing in Asian-themed light displays, to present the festival to visitors under the name “Asian Lantern Festival,” which they say “no other entity in the United States was using” previously.”
However, Tianyu Arts & Culture is involved with both the Cleveland and Pittsburgh lantern celebrations.
Pittsburgh Zoo and its attorneys respond to the Cleveland Zoo clams as “impossible, stating that Asian-Lantern Festivals have been around for thousands of years, and more recently have been held in St. Petersburg, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Tuscon, Arizona; Des Moines, Iowa; and Providence, Rhode Island.”
They also claim that the Metroparks has “no right to claim a trademark on the” ‘Asian Lantern Festival’ name.
Cleveland Zoo argues in response that Pittsburgh Zoo did not host and come up with an idea for the event until after officials from that zoo visited the one in The Land last year.
It is also noticeable that the two similar festivals will run at the same time with Cleveland and Pittsburgh so close to each other.
With the success of the festival at the Cleveland Zoo, where “more than 150,000 annual visitors” have visited the attraction since the celebration started in 2018, it is not surprising to see another zoo, especially one in a city that is one of The Land’s biggest rivals, try and take advantage of the opportunity.
The court date involving the festival name and two zoos will take place on July 15 at 2 p.m.
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Article and Video Courtesy of WKYC 3News Cleveland
First and Second Picture Courtesy of Akron Beacon Journal and Getty Images