In a stunning victory for common sense, a Chicago court recently found in favor of the Dunkin Donuts company in their efforts to un-brand a Chicago-area store run by a former franchise holder, Walid Elkhatib. The decision directed Mr. Elkhatib, whose Dunkin Donuts franchise expired in April 2008, to remove all Dunkin branded items (signs, napkins, cups, etc.) from his store.
Mr. Elkhatib acquired his franchise in 1979. In 1984, Dunkin Donuts introduced several new breakfast sandwiches containing pork products. As a Muslim, Mr. Elkhatib refused to serve the franchise’s pork breakfast items. The company accommodated Elkhatib’s religious sensibilities for almost two decades, but in 2002, Dunkin Donuts finally requested that Mr. Elkhatib either sell the products or give up his franchise license. At which point, Mr. Elkhatib sued them for discrimination.
While the lawsuit was working its way through the court system, Dunkin let Mr. Elkhatib continue to operate under the Dunkin Donuts aegis, even going so far as to allow him to continue rejecting the pork menu items; this even though Elkhatib’s franchise expired nearly a year ago.
On March 13, a federal jury decided in favor of Dunkin Donuts. Two weeks later, despite several requests from the company to cease, Mr. Elkhatib was still using Dunkin-branded products in his store; so the company sued again, this time to force Elkhatib to stop using trademarked products, and to return various operating handbooks and other materials; the courts upheld Dunkin’s suit.
So common sense triumphs in our judicial system, for allowing a company to operate as it thinks best for its own business.
At least until President Obama decides to fire the CEO of Dunkin Donuts.
H/T: Chicago Tribune