Cleveland Metroparks Zoo sues Pittsburgh Zoo for “Asian Lantern Festival” name


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo filed a lawsuit last week against the Pittsburgh Zoo for an event name.

The Cleveland Zoo accuses the Pittsburgh Zoo of trademark infringement for using the name “Asian Lantern Festival”.

Documents show the lawsuit was filed on July 2 in federal court. The case calls for action on “trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin”.

The lawsuit asks the Pittsburgh Zoo to stop using the name, pay damages and legal fees, and issue corrective advertising.

The Pittsburgh Zoo has not requested permission to use the name for its light show, Cleveland Metroparks said in the lawsuit. The Pittsburgh Zoo’s “Asian Lantern Festival” is scheduled to take place later this summer.

Documents claim the Cleveland Metroparks originally and filed the name “Asian Lantern Festival” in 2018. When the Cleveland Zoo filed the name, it was not in use elsewhere, according to the documents.

The lawsuit alleges that staff at the Pittsburgh Zoo visited the Cleveland Asian Lantern Festival in 2020 before deciding to host a similar show. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo event is presented by Tianyu, the same organization that provides an illuminated display for the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Cleveland Metroparks learned of the event from the Pittsburgh Zoo on June 22, according to the lawsuit. A few days later, officials emailed the Pittsburgh Zoo about their brand and asked them to rebrand.

When the Pittsburgh Zoo did not respond, Cleveland Metroparks sent a cease and desist letter.

“On July 1, the attorney for the Pittsburgh Zoo sent a letter to Cleveland Metroparks claiming that Cleveland Metroparks cannot claim trademark rights,” the lawsuit said. “The letter also stated that the Pittsburgh Zoo would consider renaming next year’s event, but made no guarantees.”

The Cleveland Metroparks filed their complaint the next day.

The Asian Lantern Festival at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo begins July 14.

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