A moment of David vs. Goliath hits the Lone Star State.
Mom and Pop ice cream truck “Texas Blizzard” that has gained fame and a Texas-size following in the Houston area now sees itself up against ice cream giant Dairy Queen in a trademark war.
Texas Blizzard, which is owned by brothers Victor and Richard Fernandez, has seen their small business rise in popularity following its recognition for the making the number one snow cone in all of Houston by website Culture Map. Following the recognition by Culture Map, the brothers received a strange visit by a man in a business suit who took a photograph of their bright blue food truck, and then drove away.
The incident was odd, and a few weeks later, on June 16th, Victor and Richard Fernandez received a two-page cease and desist office from the legal counsel at Dairy Queen. Dairy Queen, also known as “DQ,” has 6,000 locations throughout the United States, Canada and 18 countries; the ice cream chain has been making its own Blizzard ice cream treat since 1985.
The cease and desist letter alleged trademark infringement because the blizzard in the “Texas Blizzard’s” name can allegedly be confused with Dairy Queen’s ice cream Blizzard.
“And they said we have to drop the word Blizzard from our name within 30 days or they will take action against us,” said Victor Fernandez told local news station KHOU.
“I’m shocked when I heard that,” added his brother Richard who started the business with Victor three years ago.
The pair face an icy reality; Victor and Richard Fernandez don’t possess the resources to fight a battle against Dairy Queen who is armed with a legal team, and the Fernandez’s will likely have to change their name after gaining immense momentum within the Houston market. The Dairy Queen letter is a major blow to the brothers who also admit re-branding their product will be much more cheaper than a legal war against the corporation.
The Fernandez brothers also told KHOU News that they have responded to the initial Dairy Queen letter, and are awaiting a response from the Minneapolis-based company, and are hoping for a compromise and perhaps a sweet ending.
“We hope they let us continue conducting business the way it is,” said Richard. “We’re just trying to come up with the best scenario for both of us.”