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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

New owners strike out with bowling alley moniker; switch it up to Lefty’s Lanes

MILFORD – When they decided to reopen the Milford bowling alley last year, Lynda and Sean Howard and their six children all agreed to call it Lucky’s Lanes. The Brookline family felt lucky in many ways, including feeling fortunate to be able to take over the newly renovated 12-lane candlepin bowling alley.

In January, they opened the Elm Street bowling alley under that name, but then they got an email from a law firm representing a large California-based company called Lucky Strike Entertainment. ...

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MILFORD – When they decided to reopen the Milford bowling alley last year, Lynda and Sean Howard and their six children all agreed to call it Lucky’s Lanes. The Brookline family felt lucky in many ways, including feeling fortunate to be able to take over the newly renovated 12-lane candlepin bowling alley.

In January, they opened the Elm Street bowling alley under that name, but then they got an email from a law firm representing a large California-based company called Lucky Strike Entertainment.

Lucky Strike, it said, owns a trademark on the word lucky when it applies to bowling alleys, restaurants or cocktail lounges.

The Howards quickly took their Lucky’s Lanes sign down and came up with a new name, Lefty’s Lanes, chosen because all the Howard’s six children are left-handed.

It was too bad, said Lynda, who manages the business, because her family spent a lot of time choosing the name. She has no desire to fight the cease and desist order.

“Our lawyer told us, ‘You can fight it, but you’ll lose. You’re young enough. Just change your name,’” she said.

Lucky Strike Entertainment LLC owns bowling/entertainment complexes in 12 states and Canada, according to its website.

On March 7, Lucky Strike’s law firm sent the email to the Milford bowling alley and Leda Lanes in Nashua, which the Howards also own, explaining the company’s objections.

“Your use of Lucky’s Lanes is likely to deceive or cause confusion or mistake as to the source of origin of your services,” said the letter from Mosaic Legal Group of Washington, D.C.

“Whatever your investments in the advertisements and promotion is to date, that investment is less than the cost of trademark litigation,” said the letter.

Lynda said she replied to the email, saying they were sorry and they would change the name. Then she got to work researching the word Lefty’s to make sure no one had a trademark on it.

Lucky Strike apologized, she said, “but they said ‘business is business.’”

Leda Lanes recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but Lynda said the bankruptcy has nothing to do with the Milford bowling alley. “They are separate businesses,” she said.

Last week Sean Howard said the bankruptcy was made necessary by an ill-timed mortgage for their Leda Lighthouse on Amherst Street, a glow-
bowling addition to Leda Lanes they built in 2008.

Howard’s father and uncle, Ray and Edgar Simoneau, opened Leda Lanes in 1959.

Lynda Howard is leasing the former Milford Lanes. The Souhegan Valley’s only bowling alley opened in 1961, when it was started as Bowlmor Lanes by Emma Kregos. Bowlmor shut down in 2006 after Kregos died in 2002 and then her daughter, Sandy Kennon, in 2004. After that, it became the short-lived Tony’s Lanes.

Owner Al Gangi renovated the interior after he bought it in 2010 and put in automatic scoring, then closed it two years later.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached
at 673-3100, ext. 304, or at
kcleveland@cabinet.com.