Pizza chain battles McDonald's over name

Boston Pizza has won a procedural victory in a long-running legal dispute with McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Ltd. Since 2002, the two restaurant giants have been caught up in a bitter albeit low-profile dispute over trademarks. Boston Pizza International, which is based in Richmond, B.C., has filed a claim in Federal Court alleging that the name of a McDonald's restaurant-chain subsidiary infringes on the Boston Pizza trademarks.

The McDonald's subsidiary, Boston Market Company Canada, and a separate company that owns the "Boston Market" name, Global Restaurant Operations of Ireland Limited, filed a counterclaim in Federal Court. They sought an early court ruling, alleging that seven Boston Pizza trademarks are invalid. They also claimed that the term Boston Pizza describes a style of pizza from a geographic area and therefore could not be registered.

On March 4, Federal Court Judge Michael Kelen ruled that a single judge should deal with both cases, turning down a claim by the McDonald's subsidiary and Global Restaurant Operations to hear the cases separately. According to Kelen's ruling, the Federal Court of Appeal previously dismissed the counterclaim involving four of the trademarks because they didn't contain the word Boston.