• June 7, 2010

[UPDATE:  U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank (D. Minn.) affirmed (relatively quickly) in this case.]

Plaintiff Allen R. Thomsen, doing business as AJ Sign Company was involved with the Famous Dave’s of America BBQ restaurant chain in the early days.  Back in 1995, Thomsen worked with Famous Dave’s “flagship” Linden Hills Twin City location on the décor — the “BBQ Shack” — the look of the place.  Of course, the concept’s taken off (traded on the NASDAQ, symbol: DAVE, about $80M market cap).

The question is: what part of it, if any, is attributable to the work of AJ Sign Company and, specifically, does AJ Sign Company have contract rights or copyrights to enforce against Famous Dave’s?

U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank (D. Minn.) concluded, “No,” in February, 2009.  Thomsen will have his day in court on May 12 before the U.S. Court of Appeals (William J. Riley, C.J., John R. Gibson, Diana E. Murphy) to reverse Judge Frank’s grant of summary judgment.

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