A judge has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an Ohio man who claims that Universal Orlando ripped off his idea when it opened Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen.
Orange County Circuit Judge Donald A. Myers ruled against Universal’s request to throw out the suit.
Adam Limle of Ohio filed the suit last August, just before the chocolate-themed restaurant opened at Universal’s CityWalk. It seeks $40 million from NBCUniversal and Universal Orlando for stealing trade secrets.
Limle claims he met with Universal executives to explain his concept for the restaurant. He registered a trademark for The Chocolate Factory in 2014, and started a company that sells chocolates online called The Chocolate Factory LLC.
Universal changed the name of its project, three months before it opened, to use the word emporium instead of “factory.”
According to the lawsuit, “Universal secretly hatched a plan to develop and exploit The Chocolate Factory concept.”
But Universal’s response to the suit said: “Chocolate or confection-themed restaurants, in-house working chocolate factories, and retail stores are known elements.”