Chicken wing chain squawks at competitor's name
AURORA, Ont. - An Ontario Chicken wing restaurant operator and boxing promoter is getting ready for round one in a legal fight against a large American rival that has a similar name to his "humble" Canadian restaurants.
Rick Smiciklas, founder of Aurora, Ont.,-based Wild Wings, held a news conference Monday to discuss the intellectual property lawsuit he plans to file against Buffalo Wild Wings, a big U.S. chain that recently announced plans to expand into Canada.
The self-described "humble grass roots" Canadian player says the American company is taking advantage of Wild Wing's name and misleading customers, "creating confusion in the marketplace."
Smiciklas, also a local boxing promoter, is painting himself as the Rocky of the chicken wing battle. The lawsuit over trademark has yet to be filed in court.
In a news release, Wild Wing said it is denouncing "unabashed attempts to take advantage of Wild Wing goodwill through bad faith conduct."
Buffalo Wild Wings broke ground on its first Canadian restaurant in Oshawa, Ont., last week and hopes to open the location in the spring.
Matt Brokl, vice-president of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., said in a statement that the company has not received any confirmation of a lawsuit from Wild Wing and has not been able to confirm through courts that one has been filed.
"We are continuing to move forward with our Canadian expansion plans and are confident that we have the right to use the name and trademarks for Buffalo Wild Wings, here in Canada," Brokl said.
He said the company believes there is room for many wing companies to co-exist in the Canadian marketplace.
Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings, with 730 stores in 44 states, plans to open the Oshawa location in May, the first of 50 planned in Canada in the next five years.
Wild Wing, a privately owned Canadian company started in March 1999, says it expects to operate more than 100 restaurants by the end of this year. Smiciklas founded the chain in 1999.