Soft serve ice cream truck Mister Softee got a win this week in its ongoing turf war with competitor New York Ice Cream. A judge ruled that New York Ice Cream must stop using Mister Softee’s iconic jingle, reports the Daily News — saying that the competitor’s use of the song would confuse customers. Magistrate Judge Steven Gold ruled that New York Ice Cream owner Dimitrios Konstantakakos must also pay more than $10,000 in legal fees. Konstantakakos did not respond to the suit.
This is just one battle in the fight between New York Ice Cream and Mister Softee. The two have been going at it for years, initially because New York Ice Cream was created by a Mister Softee defector who used similar branding. Things have even gotten ugly out of court recently, with competing truck owners harassing each other both verbally and physically for street space. Mister Softee’s lawyer tells the Daily News: "This is a victory in our ongoing cases against those who violated their franchise agreements and continued to use Mister Softee's registered marks."
But heads up to Mister Softee: a lot of New Yorkers hate the jingle. The Post reports that locals have already filed more than 1,000 noise complaints for the ice cream trucks this year. The trucks are allowed to play at a certain decibel level, but if they break the rules, it’s nearly impossible to catch them in the act. The Department of Environmental Protection wants the tunes to stop between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., and Queens City Councilman Daniel Dromm, who introduced a bill last year about the topic, agrees: "Ice cream jingles are among the most annoying noises assaulting New Yorkers’ ears every day."