Business & Tech

Chris Kimball wins ‘Milk Street’ trademark challenge

Christopher Kimball at his office at Christopher Kimball's Milk Street in downtown Boston.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff, file
Christopher Kimball at his office at Christopher Kimball's Milk Street in downtown Boston.

Looks like this town is big enough for another Milk Street after all.

US District Court Judge Denise Casper has sided with celebrity chef Christopher Kimball in a trademark infringement case involving his use of the name “Milk Street” in his new venture.

The Milk Street Cafe in downtown Boston had sued Kimball for trademark infringement last summer for calling his new business venture Milk Street Kitchen. Kimball had left his longtime gig at America’s Test Kitchen to launch a new cooking-focused media business and had set up shop at 177 Milk St., a few blocks from Milk Street Cafe’s longtime home.

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His media company, CPK Media LLC, has since renamed the venture “Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street.” The business focuses on cooking classes, a magazine, and radio and TV programming. Milk Street Cafe, meanwhile, runs a catering operation and serves breakfast and lunch to downtown workers.

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Milk Street Cafe owner Marc Epstein worried the similarity in names would confuse customers, and that his company’s online presence would be swamped by searches for Kimball’s offerings.

But Casper ruled Wednesday there was little risk of confusion, as the two parties’ goods and services, as well as their marketing approaches, are quite different.

Milk Street Cafe’s primary market is downtown Boston, she wrote, while most of CPK’s customers have probably never set foot on the actual Milk Street.

The only similarity, she wrote, is that the names of both ventures refer to the street where they are located.

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Casper also ruled Milk Street Cafe had not proved it had been hurt by Kimball’s use of the name and said there was no evidence of intentional copying on his part.

Epstein’s lawyer declined to comment on the judge’s ruling. An attorney for Kimball couldn’t be reached for comment.

Spices waited in the test kitchen at Christopher Kimball's Milk Street.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Spices waited in the test kitchen at Christopher Kimball's Milk Street.

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.