Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration is suing the owner of four McDonald’s franchises in Detroit for trademark infringement for misrepresenting the fast-food restaurants as part of the city’s Project Green Light real-time crime monitoring system when they are not.
Detroit sued ECS Partnership LLC in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, demanding that the McDonald’s franchisee remove the city’s trademarked Project Green Light logo “or a confusingly similar variation” on signage in the four restaurants.
“The signage misleads the public and undermines the public safety initiative,” city attorney James Noseda wrote in an eight-page complaint.
There are 474 businesses in Detroit now participating in Project Green Light, which gives police real-time surveillance video to spot crimes in progress.
The ECS Partnership-owned McDonald’s restaurants named in the complaint are at 9815 Grand River, 1321 W. Eight Mile Road, 10400 Gratiot and 14271 Gratiot.
On Sept. 10, 2018, the city sent ECS Partnership a cease-and-desist letter for “falsely indicating” that the fast-food restaurants are part of Project Green Light, according to the complaint.
“Defendant’s use of plaintiff’s (trademark) is clearly intended to mislead customers to believe that defendant’s businesses are either sponsored by or a participant of ‘Project Greenlight Detroit,'” Noseda wrote in the lawsuit.
Errol Service, president of ECS Partnership and the company’s registered agent, could not be reached Thursday for comment.
It’s the first time Detroit has sued a business for trademark infringement since the city filed for a federal trademark in September 2016 to project “signage, lighting or green light logo signifying participation.”
Companies in Detroit that participate in Project Green Light have surveillance cameras installed inside and outside of their businesses that can be accessed in real time by law enforcement officials at the Detroit Police Department’s downtown headquarters.
Police use the video to help identify suspects in robberies, carjackings and other crimes that occur outside of businesses.
Duggan’s administration has touted the program as being instrumental in drastically lowering crime in and around participating businesses because of the number of surveillance cameras mounted at each business.
Participating gas stations, restaurants and stores have signs on doors and windows indicating that the business is part of Project Green Light.
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