The most famous brand associated with the State Fair of Texas has won a battle over the use of its name. Fletcher's Original State Fair Corny Dogs, LLC won a big victory in a trademark dispute with a company started by family members seeking to capitalize on the reputation of the Fletcher's brand.
The dispute involves two factions of the Fletcher family, whose ancestors Neil and Carl Fletcher invented corn dogs in Dallas in 1938 and introduced them at the 1942 State Fair of Texas.
Fletcher's corn dogs have become synonymous with the State Fair of Texas, and the Fletcher's name has become internationally known.
Skip Fletcher was the longtime patriarch and friendly face of the company until he passed away in 2017. His wife GG, daughter Amber, and son Aaron carried on the tradition, while updating the menu with new items such as the cheese-filled Cheesy Dog.
In early 2019, Victoria Fletcher, who worked for many years at the State Fair stand, and her daughter Jace Fletcher Christensen, formed a company called Fletcher-Warner Holdings, and launched a popup concept called Fletch, serving their versions of corn dogs, featuring hot dogs, sausage, and cheese.
Fletcher's requested that Jace and Victoria choose a non-similar name, and offered time to re-brand their company. "It was only when they refused that the Fletcher family decided they had no alternative but to pursue litigation to protect their fans and their famous brand," a spokesperson says.
In September 2019, Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs filed a trademark infringement case against Fletcher-Warner Holdings. According to lawsuit documents, they filed because they deemed the name Fletch to be too similar and therefore confusing.
"Corn dog fans, event organizers and the media alike, long familiar with the quality and reputation of Fletcher's brand corn dogs, mistakenly believed that Fletch was somehow affiliated with Fletcher’s and their products were from the same source," the suit says.
The suit was resolved in their favor. On January 13, a federal court in Plano ordered that the defendants could not use "Fletcher's," "Fletch," "Eat Fletch," and "EatFletch," in any form. A written order was issued on January 17.
"We are thrilled with the court’s ruling and are grateful for the public support and enthusiasm of our many fans," Amber Fletcher says in a statement. "We regret the confusion some of our fans experienced from Fletch's actions, but we hope that the court's order will quickly begin to eliminate the confusion so that our fans may be assured that they are enjoying genuine Fletcher's brand corn dogs."
In the midst of the court actions, Jace and Victoria quickly launched their new venture, opening a restaurant on Technology Boulevard, and hanging a temporary banner that says "corn dogs, funnel cakes, bar."
Jace says that she and Victoria will now comply, and are seeking public input on a name replacement. "I really want to let the community decide on the new name," she says.
Amber, Aaron, and GG say they're just grateful to have it resolved.
"We feel a deep sense of gratitude and are excited to move forward and focus on the many exciting events and projects Fletcher's has happening this year," Amber says.