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Save Mart doesn't get 'Lucky' yet

A Berkeley-based grocery chain is laying claim to the Lucky name, which Save Mart Supermarkets is putting on the Bay Area stores it just bought.

Grocery Outlet has demanded that Save Mart, based in Modesto, halt its just-launched conversion of the 72 stores to the Lucky banner.

The Berkeley company said it aims to use the trademark on some of its own stores, on the grounds that it was "abandoned" shortly after Albertsons bought the Lucky chain in 1998. Save Mart bought the Bay Area stores — most of them once named Lucky — from Albertsons in February.

"(Albertsons) didn't have the right to sell the Lucky mark to anyone, including Save Mart," said Eric Lindberg, co-chief executive officer at Grocery Outlet, in a news release. "It is Grocery Outlet that owns the Lucky mark."

Lindberg said his company applied for the trademark last year and then sued Albertsons over it, and no one should use it until an appellate court rules on the issue.

Save Mart spokeswoman Alicia Rockwell said Friday that the deal with Albertsons, which involved 130 stores, clearly included regional rights to the Lucky name.

"We have the ability to use the license of the name in the areas we are in, which are Northern California and Nevada," she said.

Save Mart executives this week said they are reviving the Lucky name because of its history in the Bay Area dating to 1935.

Grocery Outlet has 124 stores, including two in Modesto. Lindberg did not return a call seeking further comment on the trademark dispute Friday.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or 578-2385.

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