Augusta bar owner files suit against Aiken bar of same name

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The owner of an Augusta bar has filed a federal lawsuit against a former employee whom he claims stole the name, logo and styling of his business to open an Aiken bar by the same name.

In an accusation filed this month in U.S. District Court in Augusta, Tipsey McStumbles LLC, which is registered to Michael Anglin of Martinez, alleges its former employee, Christopher Griffin, began a "deceptive scheme to open a competing Irish Pub by the same name."

That bar, also named Tipsey McStumbles, opened in March in Aiken to controversy, as residents complained about the skimpy "Catholic schoolgirl" outfits worn by female bartenders.

Those outfits are at the heart of the Augusta Tipsey McStumbles's complaint.

They allege that in December 2010, they entered into a business agreement with Griffin in which he would operate the business in exchange for a $5,000-a-month payment to Anglin for 12 months.

Eventually, according to the agreement, Griffin could become a partner. But by March, Griffin failed to comply with the agreement and Anglin took over the operation of Tipsey McStumbles in Augusta.

The plaintiff accuses Griffin of incorporating the name "Tipsey McStumbles Aiken LLC" and applying for a fraudulent copyright registration for the "Tipsey Mark," or logo, in December 2010. At the time, Griffin was working at the Augusta bar and applied for the copyright without the knowledge of Anglin, court documents allege.

Aside from the name and logo, the lawsuit says Griffin stole Tipsey's "trade dress features" for his Aiken bar. These include the bar's wood floors, exposed ceiling beams and the waitresses' uniforms, which consist of plaid skirts and short tops.

The plaintiff is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop Griffin from using the name, logo and dress of Tipsey McStumbles at his Aiken bar, in addition to punitive damages.

Last week, Judge J. Randal Hall denied the plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order under a rule that would not allow the court to issue the order without first hearing from the defendant.

Writing in the order, Hall said the plaintiff had not clearly shown that "immediate or irreparable loss would result" before Griffin was heard in opposition.

A hearing over the plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction against Griffin is scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m. in U.S. District Court.

A message left for Anglin at the Augusta location of Tipsey McStumbles was not returned Tuesday. Robert Mullins, the attorney representing Tipsey McStumbles LLC, said his client was seeking to guard his business interests.

"He filed this litigation to protect his interest in the Tipsey McStumbles name."

Griffin contends that he created the Tipsey McStumbles name.

"I am the original creator of this name -- this business -- and founded this entire creation," Griffin said in a message left in response to a request for comment. "I believe we will prevail in court."

Comments (26) Add comment
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Dixieman
14942
Points
Dixieman 04/26/11 - 06:20 pm
0
0
I thought that was a name Moe

I thought that was a name Moe used on The Simpsons either for his bar or for a giant conglomerate hotel/bar chain that was trying to buy him out?
Only in the CSRA could we have two bars named Tipsey McStumbles!!

travisp73
53
Points
travisp73 04/26/11 - 06:37 pm
0
0
Place is kinda lame anyways.

Place is kinda lame anyways.

Reid10
0
Points
Reid10 04/26/11 - 07:21 pm
0
0
This is a funny article, was

This is a funny article, was there any actual research done before printing this? The article is full of "he claims" and "he alleges" it actually says alleges three different times. If there was any research done besides speaking with Mike than you would know that Chris was not an employee of Mike but a partner, an owner in Augusta. When I worked for a former distributer that dealt with Tipsey and spoke with Mike about the Aiken store he told me that I needed to speak with his "partner" Chris not his employee. I hope that you all do a follow up article after the litigation and this time you will have actual facts not just allegations and claims. Chris Griffin is a wonderful person, ask anyone that has met him, and more than that he is a great business man and does not deal is shady business practices like "sneaking" behind people's backs as this article "alleges". I mean look the end of this article you heard from Chris and his lawyer and yet Mike never even returned a call about a story that he obviously notified the chronicle about. Chris Griffin owns the name, the concept, and all thing affiliated with Tipsey McStumbles. I can not believe that this even made news, so tired of the media jumping the gun and printing things with no real evidence to back it up, but I guess it helps sell more papers.

Reid10
0
Points
Reid10 04/26/11 - 07:26 pm
0
0
correction the attorney was

correction the attorney was not representing Chris but obviously he had a lot of good information back up these allegations.

blues550
376
Points
blues550 04/26/11 - 07:29 pm
0
0
One of the owners is
Unpublished

One of the owners is certifiable. And it ain't Chris.

blues550
376
Points
blues550 04/26/11 - 07:30 pm
0
0
One of the owners is
Unpublished

One of the owners is certifiable. And it ain't Chris.

Hmfic
0
Points
Hmfic 04/26/11 - 07:31 pm
0
0
I have been involved in

I have been involved in Tipsey McStumbles since January 2010. It has been known that Chris and Mike were partners in the business. I helped Chris work on the bar for many hours during the night and never met mike until one week before opening. I know that Chris has years of experience in construction and design. I also know that Mike has bar experience that failed in the past. I feel that this is a desperate attempt to not fail again on Mikes part. I also feel that they are equal partners in Augusta but Chris owns the name and the rights to it.

augusta citizen
9305
Points
augusta citizen 04/26/11 - 08:01 pm
0
0
Hope the facts come out and

Hope the facts come out and whomever is the rightful owner prevails, by the way, I've never heard of them at all.

corgimom
32180
Points
corgimom 04/26/11 - 08:02 pm
0
0
If I didn't care for a

If I didn't care for a server's attire, I wouldn't patronize an establishment-which is why I don't go to Hooters or strip clubs. What's so hard about that?

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 04/26/11 - 08:10 pm
0
0
We know only Chris Griffin as

We know only Chris Griffin as the originator of Tipsey McStumbles. We do not know who Mike is and have never spoken to him when calling TM for business purposes. The employees there directed us to Chris Griffin as the owner and decision maker. We hope these two hard working gentlemen can find some way to solve this and most likely will.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 04/26/11 - 09:19 pm
0
0
Never heard of either one of

Never heard of either one of them until now. Free publicity???

storiesihaveread
358
Points
storiesihaveread 04/26/11 - 09:46 pm
0
0
"Catholic schoolgirl" outfits

"Catholic schoolgirl" outfits worn by female bartenders hmmm that is all I am concerned about.....

Brad Owens
4418
Points
Brad Owens 04/27/11 - 12:37 am
0
0
Leave it to the Irish..

Leave it to the Irish..

Dixieman
14942
Points
Dixieman 04/27/11 - 05:07 am
0
0
If you are a partner, you

If you are a partner, you have a written partnership agreement. Is there one?

treerock
0
Points
treerock 04/27/11 - 06:33 am
0
0
nuts to that, just come down

nuts to that, just come down to stillwater taproom!

rubyjean
0
Points
rubyjean 04/27/11 - 06:56 am
0
0
LOL, after reading the

LOL, after reading the article...I am so confused!

belle
305
Points
belle 04/27/11 - 07:02 am
0
0
reid 10, the article's
Unpublished

reid 10, the article's purpose was to report the existence of the suit. It is not the Chronicle's responsibility to choose sides or judge the case. The content of the article served it's purpose.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 04/27/11 - 08:05 am
0
0
so what. Never been to either

so what. Never been to either and do not know where they are. Most bars last for awhile and then fade away.

Adam Folk
0
Points
Adam Folk 04/27/11 - 08:40 am
0
0
Reid 10: I would like to

Reid 10: I would like to correct some of the assumptions you make in your post. As I say in the story, all of the information comes from documents filed in U.S. District Court by the plaintiff, which is Tipsey McStumbles LLC. I attempted to reach Mr. Anglin for the story but was not able to by press time. I was not "notified" by Mr. Anglin as you claim. As part of my job, I monitor court filings in both federal and Superior Court on a regular basis and happened to notice a hearing was scheduled for this lawsuit on the calendar for next week.

Anytime something is filed in a lawsuit we will call it an allegation because that is precisely what it is. To say otherwise would be incorrect and unfair to the parties involved. I would note that Tipsey McStumbles LLC alleges that Griffin was "sneaking," not myself or the Chronicle. As for Mr. Griffin being a partner, I can't speak to how the two referred to each other on a daily basis but according to a business agreement both parties entered into, Mr. Griffin could only become a partner after completing the agreement that I mentioned in the story. It was unclear (based on the plaintiff's allegations filed in court) whether that had ever happened so it would inappropriate for me to call him such while that very point is in contention.

Mugatu
16
Points
Mugatu 04/27/11 - 10:27 am
0
0
The entire concept is wholly

The entire concept is wholly appropriated from "The Tilted Kilt," established in 2003:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilted_Kilt

It's amusing to see someone complaining that their stolen idea was stolen by someone else.

SeaSpur
0
Points
SeaSpur 04/27/11 - 10:28 am
0
0
This whole situation seems

This whole situation seems pretty cut and dry.

It doesn't matter if Mr. Griffin was a hard worker, handled most of the daily operations, made the orders for the bar, and was assumed by vendors to "run the place". He may even be a great guy, as mentioned in the comments.

However, if the true owner and creator of the Tipsey McStumbles name and brand is not Mr. Griffin- he is at fault here and made a mistake with disregard to US copyright laws and trademark infringement. Intellectual property theft isn't taken seriously enough these days, and it really is a serious situation. I personally don't understand why Mr. Griffin didn't just create his own bar name, logo, and overall brand if he wanted to start a bar.

As for the place, it isn't like Tipsey's is considered household name in Augusta or the bar scene alone. It's not even an "Irish" pub by a long shot. To be honest, the name is cheesy and the logo is lame take on a Celtic knot. Mr. Griffin could do better.

lisa77d
0
Points
lisa77d 04/27/11 - 10:40 am
0
0
Team Augusta!

Team Augusta!

KristineW
0
Points
KristineW 04/27/11 - 11:08 am
0
0
The whole situation is cut

The whole situation is cut and dry? Really? Why not wait and see the evidence that will prove that Chris Griffin is the owner to all of the rights to the Tipsey name, logo and trade dress. He didn't have to create anything of his own because it was his to begin with. Hold your opinions, because it sucks to eat crow. There are documents that are public record and otherwise that are dated appropriately that will prove this case and Chris Griffin's name is all over them--not Mike Anglin.

SeaSpur
0
Points
SeaSpur 04/27/11 - 11:48 am
0
0
KristineW, try using some

KristineW, try using some reading comprehension. I didn't explicitly say that Mr. Griffin was NOT the true owner. I said the situation was cut and dry (because it is) and if the true owner is NOT MR. GRIFFIN, then he is at fault here.

I will say I find it odd that Mr. Anglin's company is "Tipsey McStumbles LLC" (according to this article), and Mr. Griffin's is
Tipsey McStumbles Aiken LLC". Why would you create the Aiken business name if you already owned Tipsey McStumbles in Augusta (which opened before Aiken was even a thought)? Only reason I can think of would be that Tipsey McStumbles was already owned by Mr. Anglin.

Again, try reading comprehension next time before you attack another person's comments.

KristineW
0
Points
KristineW 04/27/11 - 11:57 am
0
0
SeaSpur, Chris Griffin is a

SeaSpur, Chris Griffin is a partner in Tipsey Mcstumbles, LLC. Chris Griffin solely owns Aiken, LLC. Calm yourself it's not that serious. You are very sensitive if you feel attacked. I was simply stating that it's not cut and dry.

travisp73
53
Points
travisp73 04/27/11 - 12:46 pm
0
0
Lets meet at Metro for a beer

Lets meet at Metro for a beer and we can discuss this further.

pguthrie
0
Points
pguthrie 04/27/11 - 02:14 pm
0
0
Dixieman-- you are 100%

Dixieman-- you are 100% correct. This is from a Simpsons episode-- Tipsy McStaggers is the name of a large restaurant chain. McStumbles is clearly taken from that, even "cleverly" changed. What a joke. Oh Augusta. I'll forward this on to some people in the actual world and maybe both these places can be sued out of business.

localman
5
Points
localman 04/27/11 - 03:00 pm
0
0
Thos people who won't go to

Thos people who won't go to Hooters or Tipseys' because of the clothing are nothing but a bunch of ra....uh....clothesist! They are prejudice against people who wear skimpy clothes. I'll bet they hate to go to beaches...and parks...and nudists resorts too. Don't watch the Miss America pageant! Oh the horror of the bathing suit competition! I pray one day we can live in a world where clothes are not used to judge people or a restaurant.

JohnScott213
10
Points
JohnScott213 04/27/11 - 05:35 pm
0
0
Personally, I'm kind of tired

Personally, I'm kind of tired of the drunken Irishman stereotype. What if there was a bar called "Droolin' Drunk Geronimo's"? Every native American group from here to Alaska would be in an uproar. Why is it that it's OK to perpetuate a stereotype, as long as the target is white?

lisa77d
0
Points
lisa77d 04/28/11 - 07:48 am
0
0
Come on, dress code & drunken

Come on, dress code & drunken Irishman is not the story here. The courts will figure this out soon enough.

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