Courthouse News Service is reporting that a federal judge has ruled that Vienna Beef, the Chicago-based hot dog dynasty, cannot get a temporary restraining order to prevent its founder's grandson from allegedly misusing trade secrets. Samuel Ladany is one of the Austro-Hungarian immigrants who founded the company. Samuel's grandson, Scott Ladany, started out with a 10 percent interest in Vienna Beef back in 1971, but he left the company in 1983 and signed a noncompete agreement, complete with a confidentiality clause, regarding Vienna Beef's trade-secret recipes. When that noncompete term expired in 1986, Ladany branched out with his own frankfurter venture, Red Hot Chicago.
Vienna Beef filed suit this month for a restraining order, arguing that Red Hot has released "promotional material ... [that] contains several of Vienna Beef's trademarked phrases," including "Make Me One With Everything" and "Drag It Through The Garden." Red Hot also makes "numerous references to RHC using family recipes" that rightfully belong to Vienna Beef by saying it has used the same sausage recipe for the last 118 years.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman rejected Vienna Beef's application for a temporary restraining order against Red Hot, finding that the order was not necessary to prevent irreparable injury to Vienna Beef.
Weiner photograph is shown above.