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Seasons in settlement talks over name

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Some kind of settlement apparently is in the works over the name of a new Albuquerque restaurant.

The owners of Seasons Rotisserie and Grill in Old Town earlier this month intiated legal action against the operator of the newly opened Seasons 52 at Coronado Center, claiming that the business names were confusingly similar and infringed on its trademark.

A local lawyer representing the Roessler family, which has operated their fine-dining eatery for more than two decades at 2031 Mountain Road NW, said that the arrival of the similarly named restaurant was causing confusion among its longtime patrons, who weren’t able to differentiate between the two eateries. This prompted a civil action alleging trademark infringement, said Jeffrey Squires, the attorney retained by the Roesslers, who also own and operate popular Albuquerque dining spots Savoy and Zinc.

Squires filed a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court April 5 asking that Seasons 52 be prevented from using the name.

Now, it looks like the parties are attempting to resolve the dispute before it even gets a hearing, confirmed Squires on Friday. “They (the litigants) are in an advanced phase of negotiations and all signs point to a resolution,” he said.

Squires said a proposal “is in the works that will compensate his client and allow Seasons 52 and Seasons in Old Town to co-exist in this market.”

At this point, “It’s not a question of damages; it’s a settlement of sorts,” said Squires, who declined to elaborate further.

The lawyer representing Season 52’s parent company, Florida-based Darden Restaurants, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The major restaurant chain also owns Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and Cheddars.

Last June, Seasons 52 first announced its plans to open its first New Mexico outlet at the mall with a 7,918-square foot space at 6600 Menaul Blvd. NE. Prior to its opening, the new eatery received about 600 applications for 125 positions.

Seasons 52 specializes in “seasonally inspired menus” and “rustic cooking techniques,” such as brick-oven roasting and open-fire grilling, according to its website. The menu changes four times a year, once each season. The restaurant also has a specialty menu that changes weekly.

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