Medieval Times sued the union representing workers at the popular dinner theater chain’s castle in Lyndhurst, claiming it infringed on the brand trademark.
In a lawsuit filed Oct. 13 in federal court, Texas-based Medieval Times said the American Guild of Variety Artists is creating “consumer confusion” by letting employees use the name “Medieval Times Performers United” and medieval-themed imagery in its logo.
The company also believes it could “lead to the mistaken impression” that the union is “somehow endorsed” by Medieval Times, the lawsuit says.
“Because defendants use Medieval Times in the very name of their new organization, coupled with adopting other features meant to evoke Medieval Times and its services, consumer confusion as to an affiliation, sponsorship and endorsement between the parties is inevitable if not already occurring,” the complaint said.
“More than just as a name on some filings, Medieval Times Performers publicly uses the Medieval Times Performers Mark, on the internet, and in its promotional efforts as its primary and only source identifier,” it said.
Medieval Times, which has nine other locations across the U.S., is known for its daily dinner and tournament featuring staged jousting and swordplay.
Amid concerns about compensation, job requirements, work conditions and safety, the actors who play knights, royals, squires and stable hands in Lyndhurst voted 26-11 in July to form the first-ever union in the company’s history.
“With our seat at the table with management, we aim to collaborate to improve safety protocols and enforcement as well as create more equitable pay scales,” the performers said.
In recent months, workers across the country have pushed to organize at large corporations like Starbucks and Amazon.
On Oct. 14, Medieval Times Performers United and the American Guild of Variety Artists issued a statement describing the management’s lawsuit as “frivolous.”
It went on to say the complaint against employees and their designated bargaining representative “is in brazen violation of the National Labor Relations Act” and “a grotesque attempt to retaliate against workers for exercising their legally protected right to form a union and bargain collectively.”
“But it will fail. It will not only embolden Medieval Times’ employees at its New Jersey castle to fight harder for a fair contract, it will inspire the employees at its other castles across the county to organize and do the same,” the statement said. “Additionally, AGVA will pursue all available legal remedies in response to Medieval Times’ unlawful thuggery.”