City Desk

Capital City Mumbo Sauce: We’re Keeping Our Name “Until Someone Beats Down Our Door”

mumbo"Mumbo Sauce" may belong to a company in Chicago, but D.C.'s Capital City Mumbo Sauce isn't going down without a fight.

Last month, City Desk reported the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that the term mumbo sauce was legally born in Chicago—Argia B's Mumbo Sauce has been sold since 1950—even though a condiment of the same name is a staple of D.C. carryout restaurants. This effectively meant that Arsha Jones would have to change the name of her company, Capital City Mumbo Sauce, which bottles and sells the sweet, barbecue-like sauce on its website.

I checked in with Jones today, and the company is still operating under the same name. "We are going to be keeping our name really until someone beats down our door," she says.

Jones says she has until the end of October to appeal the trademark decision. She has a lawyer, has started getting the paperwork together, and has made a "soft" decision to lodge the appeal. But, she hedges, nothing will be official until she actually files a motion.

The appeals process is expected to take a year and Jones says she will reassess then what to do if she loses the appeal.

She doesn't have a back-up name ready to go, and she says she can't simply change the name to Capital City Mambo Sauce, because it would likely still be a copyright violation.

Besides, Jones' fight isn't just about her business—it's about a Chicago company potentially owning the name of D.C.'s favorite condiment. "I don't care how many laws, how many judges you try to appeal to, it will always be a sauce of D.C....and we're prepared to fight it til the end," Jones says. "We're putting all our eggs in one basket."

Image courtesy of Capital City Mumbo Sauce

 

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