blizzard (bliz´erd) n. 1 a severe thunderstorm characterized by colt temperatures and heavy drifting of snow 2 an overwhelming number or amount; deluge 3 a frozen treat made by Dairy Queen and only Dairy Queen.
No, wait, that third definition isn't accurate, though it may soon be if the fast food restaurant gets its way. The creator of the Blizzard, a blended ice cream treat introduced in 1946, sent a cease and desist letter to a local company, Texas Blizzard Shave Ice, on June 16 citing trademark infringement. Because the term "Blizzard" referring to a frozen treat is trademarked by Dairy Queen, the company feels that Texas Blizzard Shave Ice is illegally using their name.
CultureMap reported the incident earlier this week, and Lluvia Fernandez, the public relations coordinator for Texas Blizzard Shave Ice reached out to us to clear some things up.
"Dairy Queen did not threaten us on our social media websites," Fernandez says. "They have not issued a lawsuit but it can be a possibility. We are willing to work with Dairy Queen."
According to Fernandez, none of Texas Blizzard Shave Ice's products are sold with the brand name "blizzard." Blizzard is merely a part of the company's name, not a term used to describe their products, which are strictly shaved ice. There's no dairy involved.
Texas Blizzard has retained a trademark lawyer who has been in touch with Dairy Queen and explained to the company that Texas Blizzard is willing to remove the "Blizzard" part of their name. They hope to keep their social media pages, but are worried that Dairy Queen could have their Facebook page shut down, a possibility according to their lawyer.
"We have been in business for over three years and did not expect anything like this to happen," Fernandez explains. "The owners worked really hard to build their own brand and did not want it to become successful by piggy backing off another company. Even though our products are different than Dairy Queen's, we are still frozen in this situation."
Fernandez suspects that the growth of the company during the past three years contributed to Dairy Queen's issue with the name. The CultureMap article implies that their own report on the best snow cones in Houston led to Dairy Queen being made aware of the situation, but Fernandez says that "with success come challenges, and this happens to be one of them."
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Unfortunately, Texas Blizzard Shave Ice doesn't have the resources to fight the fast food chain, but the owners are hoping the issue can be resolved without a fight. If that means changing the name, they're willing to do so, but they do worry that all the branding they've done in the past several years and all the ways they've gotten the Texas Blizzard name out there will be a waste if the name is changed.
"We hope this blows over and doesn't become an avalanche," Fernandez says. "The last thing we want is to start over from scratch. The owners ask if anyone (especially our loyal customers) can come up with a different name, it would be extremely helpful."
So let's hear it, readers: If Texas Blizzard Shave Ice is forced to change its name, what should the new name be?
In the meantime, check out Texas Blizzard Shave Ice's Facebook page to find out where they're serving. The resilient company is still out cooling off Houstonians with their non-Blizzard treats.