Viacom is suing a company that runs a downtown Houston pop-up bar and restaurant that’s SpongeBob Squarepants-themed.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the Rusty Krab was opened by owner Sam Chand in downtown Houston, the same space where a Harry Potter pop-up shop was opened years prior. The bar sells SpongeBob-themed food and drinks, but clarified that it was “not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Nickelodeon, or the SpongeBob brand directly,” according to a disclaimer. Instead, Chand describes it as an “artistic adaptation recreation of an amazing series that added value to our childhood.”
However, according to TMZ, Viacom, which owns the rights to all Spongebob IP, is suing the Rusty Krab over allegations of infringement. The company is claiming that the drink menu uses the namesake of many SpongeBob properties, including their “Pineapple Under the Sea,” “Bikini Bottom,” “Secret Formula,” and “I’m Ready” among others. Viacom claims that since these names are licensed for the trademarks of a kids show that it is violating their policy for them to be used on alcoholic beverages.
Chand explained that he only opened the pop-up bar for people to have fun and enjoy the space that he created using the popular kids show properties.
“The most important thing for me is for people to have fun here. They spend a lot of money to come through. We have people traveling from out of state just to experience this,” he says. “I want them to be satisfied with the photo ops, the exhibits, the interactive games, the food and drinks — the whole enchilada.”
Not only is Viacom suing the Rusty Krab, but it’s also demanding the bar hand over any profits it’s made so far. The company is also suing to stop the pop-up shop from doing further business.