Crawfish & Noodles, the Asiatown restaurant known as arguably the city’s finest destination for Viet-Cajun crawfish, is suing a crawfish purveyor in Cypress, alleging that the restaurant is engaging in common-law trademark infringement.
The lawsuit, filed in Harris County District Court on May 25, alleges that Houston-area restaurant King Crawfish and Noodles has a name that is just too similar to Crawfish and Noodles, which has operated in Asiatown since 2008. King Crawfish and Noodles came onto the scene in 2017, nearly a decade later. According to the suit, the similarity between the names has actually created confusion among diners, making some think that they’re dining at the much-lauded original.
The suit lays out Crawfish & Noodles’s rise to fame over the years, including appearances on Netflix’s Ugly Delicious and multiple James Beard Award nominations for chef/owner Truong Nguyen. According to the suit, that notoriety means that people travel from all over the country to try the restaurant, some of whom accidentally end up at King Crawfish and Noodles.
Also according to the suit, multiple customers have told Nguyen that they have previously visited his “other” restaurant, referring to the completely unaffiliated King Crawfish and Noodles. “Instead of building its own identity, [King Crawfish and Noodles] traded off the immense goodwill built by Crawfish & Noodles by using nearly identical marks to the Crawfish & Noodles brand.” In this case, “mark” is just lawyer-speak for “name.”
A search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database indicates that Truong’s company does, in fact, own the trademark to the name “Crawfish & Noodles,” registering the moniker with the office in 2019. In the suit, lawyers for Crawfish & Noodles allege that they reached out to the owners of King Crawfish & Noodles to inform them of the infringement, and that the owners responded with “defiance,” refusing to stop using the name.
In addition to the trademark infringement, the suit also alleges that King Crawfish and Noodles is serving a product that is just not as good as the saucy, spice-coated mudbugs at Truong’s Asiatown restaurant. The suit claims that the “inferior” product is irreparably “tarnishing Crawfish & Noodles’s reputation.”
Along with unspecified financial damages that could reach up to $200,000 per the statutory limit, the lawsuit seeks an injunction that would, ultimately, permanently prevent King Crawfish and Noodles from using the “Crawfish and Noodles” part of its name.
King Crawfish and Noodles has not yet responded to the lawsuit in court, and a hearing has not yet been set. Stay tuned for more details on the suit as it unfolds. Eater has reached out to King Crawfish and Noodles for comment, and will update this story when possible.