The Hard Rock Cafe is suing Planet Hollywood, the movie memorabilia restaurant that Hard Rock owners contend is a cheap copycat.
In the U.S. District Court antitrust lawsuit filed this week, Hard Rock co-founder Peter A. Morton and investors seek $250-million in actual damages and $500-million in punitive damages from Rank Organization, original owners of Planet Hollywood Inc. Actual damages are tripled under federal law.
Planet Hollywood created "a chain of highly publicized entertainment-music-themed restaurants .
. similar but of substantially lower quality," the litigation documents stated.
Robert Earl, a Rank official and Planet Hollywood chief executive, was accused of imitating Hard Rock Cafe menus, merchandise and business operations in the complaint.
The Hard Rock Cafe originated in London in 1971 as a place to get an American hamburger. Its fame spread with attendance by trendy patrons, and more cafes opened in other countries, including the United States.
Planet Hollywood in New York City is financially backed by stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis. They were not named in the suit.