You might think Southland Corp. has enough to worry about these days with a troubled acquisition and a potential bankruptcy filing. But the parent of the 7-Eleven chain isn't too busy to have traded some acrid letters that briefly revived an old run-in with local retailer Aris Mardirossian, whose 6-Twelve stores are often right across the street from their rival.
Mardirossian and Southland fought over the 6-Twelve logo in 1984, but later settled. Mardirossian agreed to amend his logo and Southland agreed not to challenge the name again. But on Sept. 10, Southland assistant general counsel Joe A. Winfield wrote Mardirossian, alleging trademark infringement and demanding that he dump the 6-Twelve logo, saying it was "likely to confuse or deceive the public to the detriment of Southland."
"The simple answer to your accusations is an obvious fact that you did not bother to check," Mardirossian lawyer Anthony C. Epstein replied, noting the 1985 settlement. "Apparently we have a higher opinion of convenience store customers than you do -- we think that they are smart enough to tell the difference between 6-Twelve and 7-Eleven."
Winfield wrote Epstein last week, acknowledging the mistake and saying the complaint was about one logo at a store that hadn't measured up to the old settlement. "This is just crazy," said Mardirossian, who has 23 6-Twelve stores areawide and plans to open 18 more in the next two years. "And they are obviously running scared."