Thursday, January 13, 2011

‘Pancakes’ Drops Suit Against ‘Prayer’

By Andrea Wood
The International House of Pancakes and the International House of Prayer may have found a way to co-exist.
Last September, the International House of Pancakes, based in California, filed a lawsuit against the religious organization, based in South Kansas City and Grandview, for trademark infringement over the use of the ‘IHOP’ acronym.
The suit has now been voluntarily dropped by the restaurant chain. The notice of dismissal filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles states that the two sides are having “ongoing mediation discussions.”
“We are aware that the House of Pancakes has recently dropped the suit but we have no further comment on the issue at this time,” said Venetia Carpenter, IHOP KC Community Relations Director.
For more than 10 years, the two organizations have both used the acronym ‘IHOP.’ Last fall, the restaurant chain asked a federal court to stop the International House of Prayer religious organization from using the abbreviation.
The restaurant chain, which first opened in 1958, said that it has been operating under the name IHOP for 30 years, and claimed that the International House of Prayer (which also goes by IHOP-KC) was diluting their famous trademark.
The lawsuit states that IHOP-KC “selected and adopted the International House of Prayer name, knowing it would be abbreviated IHOP. IHOP-KC intended to misappropriate the fame and notoriety of the household name IHOP to help promote and make recognizable their religious organization.”
The lawsuit also says that the use of the abbreviation IHOP by both organizations confuses the public.
The International House of Prayer Missions Base was founded by Mike Bickle in 1999 as a place where Christian missionaries could pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The organization says it got its name from the Bible- -Isaiah 56:7 uses the phrase “house of prayer” twice.
IHOP-KC has expanded greatly since 1999. The organization has plans to build a world headquarters in Grandview, across 71 Highway from Truman Corners.
In the meantime, the organization has redeveloped Grandview Plaza Shopping Center into its IHOP University campus, which opened this summer following extensive interior renovations. 
Exterior plans are underway at the center.
“The front facade renovation should be completed by the end of January with the exception of some exterior painting that will be done when the weather warms up March/April,” Carpenter said. “The parking lot improvements (landscaping and redesign)  will also be done early summer. In addition, the final interior renovations will begin in March and should be completed by August 1 2011 in time for the opening of  the next school year.”

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