EDWARDSVILLE -- A food fight is underway between the organizers of pierogi festivals in Indiana and Luzerne County.
The group in Indiana claims its trademark was violated by organizers of the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival and now the case may be headed to federal court.
A group in Edwardsville started the yearly pierogi festival four years ago to bring people to the borough and raise money for community projects.
After this year's festival, organizers and their sponsors received a letter from the festival near Chicago claiming the very name of the event is a copyright infringement.
Organizers of the Edwardsville Hometown Committee used to worry about bad weather for its three-day festival celebrating the pierogi. Now, they're worried about getting sued by an Indiana community with a more established and much larger pierogi festival.
A letter from an Indiana patent attorney, "demands you and your organization cease all use of the infringing pierogi festival trademark," and threatened to sue the Edwardsville festival and its sponsors.
"They help us pay the bills, so it's just nasty," said Debbie Konefal-Rodgers.
Repair shop owner Jack Roberts says he threw away the threatening letter from the Indiana lawyer.
"Why would they bother a small community like ours?" Roberts asked. "There's wine festivals, there's, well maybe no other pierogi festivals. There's kielbasi festivals. Because they call it a certain name, they're coming after our town? I don't know."
People with the local pierogi festival worried these threats would end their four-year-old event.
Lawyers for the Edwardsville group went to federal court in Scranton and filed suit against the Indiana group claiming there is no trademark violation.
Attorney Jim Haggerty says the pierogi fest would have to show the Edwardsville event causes consumer confusion to prove a trademark violation.
"There is no consumer on planet earth who is going to confuse the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival with the suburban Chicago pierogi fest," Haggerty said.
Whiting, Indiana is about an hour's drive from Chicago. Its pierogi fest chairman tells Newswatch 16 it acted, "to protect the integrity of our festival and to protect our trademark. We could lose our trademark if we don't enforce it."
Whiting, Indiana pierogi fest chairman Tom Dabertin said he hopes organizers of the two pierogi festivals can work out a deal. But if the case heads to federal court in Scranton, Edwardsville festival organizers want the Indiana group to pay legal fees and damages caused by threats to sponsors of the Luzerne County event.