User uShare Login | Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.

58° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options



Share your Photos, Videos, and Stories on uShare! Click here to get started.

#3 Brookings @ #2 Mitchell at 7 p.m. | Sioux Falls News & Weather, South Dakota News & Weather, Minnesota and Iowa News

[0] My Saved Articles
Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!


Mean Gene Loses Court Battle

June 21, 2006, 6:20 PM by Lou Raguse

A federal judge took down wrestling announcer Gene Okerlund today in court — ruling he can not use his nickname for his new food business.

That's because Hot Stuff Foods has already trademarked “Mean Gene Burgers.”

The main evidence against Gene Okerlund in this case is a letter his new food business sent out to current Hot Stuff stores.

It had a logo on the letterhead, the same one Hot Stuff uses for its "Mean Gene's Pizza." While that isn't trademarked, Judge Larry Piersol decided it's too similar to the Mean Gene's Burgers logo, which Hot Stuff does legally own.

Hot Stuff Pizza won the first round in the battle over the Mean Gene Burgers name.

“He found actual confusion. He found irreparable harm,” Hot Stuff’s lawyer Steve Landon says. “Which is exactly what we've been saying.”

Judge Piersol says customers might not distinguish between the companies if Gene Okerlund starts his own Mean Gene food chain. And Piersol agreed with most of Hot Stuff's concerns.

“First of all, our employees and the management have put millions of dollars into growing a brand that we believe is part of Hot Stuff Foods, and part of our future,” says Hot Stuff president Des Hague.

Piersol did not completely shut down Gene Okerlund's new business today. He just ruled the names "Mean Gene’s Burgers” and Mean Gene's Pizza" are too close to what Hot Stuff has trademarked.

“The new business is going to be there,” Okerlund says. “It just depends under which moniker we're going to come up with.”

But Okerlund says he's not giving up on using the Mean Gene name. And there will be more court decisions down the road.

“My name!” he says. “Should be able to use it.”

Judge Piersol still will rule on whether to permanently stop the Okerlunds from using the Mean Gene name in business, and also whether the family is breaking non-compete clauses.

The Okerlunds indicated in court that they will challenge whether the registered trademark Hot Stuff owns is valid. They say Gene Okerlund never gave written permission for Hot Stuff to register it.

Previous Story

Next Story



You may also like

Helicopter Crash Near Parkston Under Investigation

10/5/2015 11:25 AM

Emergency crews responded to a helicopter crash near Parkston Monday morning. 

Full Story
Bosworth's Husband Facing Felony Charges

10/5/2015 10:50 AM

The husband of former GOP U.S. Senate Candidate Annette Bosworth now faces felony charges.

Full Story
Fishermen Find Body Of Sioux Falls Man In Oakwood Lake

10/6/2015 12:30 PM

The Brookings County Sheriff's Office says the body of 73-year-old Martin Jepson was found floating in the lake around 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Full Story
Huron Man Killed In Motorcycle-Semi Collision

10/3/2015 1:51 PM

A Huron man was killed in a crash on US Highway 14 Friday afternoon.

Full Story
Mitchell Superintendent Defends 'Second Job'

10/5/2015 10:02 PM

Our KELOLAND News investigation revealed some of the problems surrounding the multimillion dollar GEAR UP grant that caused the state to end its partn...

Full Story | Watch