Mister Softee sues rival ice cream truck for allegedly stealing signature song
Mister Softee says a Queens man has stolen the sound of summer.
Mister Softee Inc. is suing a rival soft-serve slinger who’s been blaring its famous jingle from his ice cream truck.
While Mister Softee has taken on knockoffs before, this is the first time the custard king has gone after a competitor solely for swiping its signature song, said its lawyer, Jeffrey Zucker.
Alleged tune-taker Dimitrios Konstantakakos’ truck was recently featured in a story and video headlined “A Day in the Life of a NYC Ice Cream Operator” on the website Gothamist, according to the Brooklyn Federal Court lawsuit.
One of his drivers, identified as “Victor” in the video, talks about the iconic tune while it is heard playing in the background.
“I hear them bells in my sleep, I hear them when I lay down,” he says in the Gothamist video.
Konstantakakos is a former Mister Softee vendor, the suit notes, so he should have known that the iconic company owns the trademark to the jingle — 16 notes “in the key of E flat, in the sequence of BB-C-BB-G-F-EB-F-EB-F-EB-C-EB-D-EB-F-BB-G-EB which is then repeated.”
Mister Softee also has a history with Konstantakakos’ truck.
Its previous owner, Dmitrios Tsirkos, used it as one of his fleet of “Master Softee” trucks before Mister Softee forced him out of business in another court case.
Konstantakakos’ truck features the brand “New York Ice Cream,” not the Mister Softee logo of an ice cream cone with a smiling face, but copying the jingle is enough to confuse customers, the suit contends.
“Mister Softee owns a federal trademark on the jingle and therefore Mr. Konstantakakos’ unauthorized use of the jingle to attract customers to his truck is unlawful under federal trademark law,” Zucker said.
“Mister Softee is in favor of fair competition, but when competitors use Mister Softee’s federally registered trademarks they engage in unfair competition, which is illegal.”
Konstantakakos could not be reached for comment.Back