A San Francisco gentlemen's club is staking its claim to its golden name in a legal battle that pits the decades-old business against a new one in San Jose.
The Gold Club San Francisco filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday that alleges the new Gold Club in San Jose infringes upon trademarks.
The South of Market topless club and restaurant's court filing says the business has operated as the Gold Club for the past two decades, building up its reputation in the Bay Area through use of its logos, which include gold lettering and a lion holding a spear.
In early August, San Jose's Gold Club began operating as a downtown restaurant and bikini club — topless bars are prohibited in San Jose. The venue's logo includes the name "The Gold Club" in gold lettering on a black background and two lion-type creatures standing with a spear-type object.
The lawsuit alleges that use of those creatures and golden lettering with "sunburst" effects results in the "look and feel" of the two logos being "confusingly similar." In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the new Gold Club uses the phrase "World Famous Gentleman's Club," which is similar to the San Francisco location's phrase of "World Class Gentlemen's Club & Restaurant."
But the lawsuit may not be as clear-cut as to the issue surrounding the name. The lawsuit calls the San Jose club's owner Platinum SJ Enterprise, which was incorporated in February 2012, according to state records. But the San Jose club's website lists its owner as PML Clubs Inc., which operates several East Coast clubs under the Gold Club name.
The lawsuit asks the court to strip the San Jose club of the Gold Club name and logo, and for the San Jose business to pay for damages to compensate for lost business.