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Pancake house takes on prayer group

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
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Acronym pits pancakes vs. prayer
  • Lawsuit is filed this month
  • IHOP, the pancake house, says church group is infringing on its trademark
  • The International House of Prayer was founded in 1999

(CNN) -- IHOP has filed a lawsuit against a church group called the International House of Prayer claiming that the group is illegally using the pancake house's famous acronym.

The legal flap started earlier this month when the International House of Pancakes filed the lawsuit in a federal court in California.

The Kansas City, Missouri-based church group "selected and adopted the International House of Prayer name, knowing it would be abbreviated IHOP. IHOP-KC intended to misappropriate the fame and notoriety of the household name IHOP to help promote and make recognizable their religious organization," the lawsuit says.

Lawyers from the pancake restaurant say the odds are stacked against the church group and provided the court with pages and pages of documentation of websites, newsletters and signs on buildings where the prayer group allegedly used the IHOP acronym.

The use of the acronym infringes on the restaurant's trademark, the restaurant contends.

So, IHOP, the pancake house, is asking a judge to get IHOP, the church group, to stop using the letters IHOP.

The restaurant says it has used the acronym for more than 30 years.

As of Thursday, representatives from the International House of Prayer had not filed a response to the lawsuit, according to court documents.

The church group started in 1999 in Missouri and now bills itself as 24/7 place for people to come and pray, according to the group's website.