The International House of Pancakes is widely known as IHOP to millions of hungry breakfast seekers, and it wants to make sure that if those four letters are used, pancakes will be on the menu for anyone who responds to them. The use of the same letters by a chain of ministries is therefore seen as a problem.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the religious organization using IHOP is the International House of Prayer, which is based in Kansas City MO and has additional affiliated ministries located elsewhere.
The pancake chain has sued the ministry in federal court in an effort to shake them loose from use of the IHOP signature. The pancake giant says it has no desire to attack the church group, but it wants to protect its identity, and further does not want to be associated with one faith group to the exclusion of all others.
The pancake company says it had no success attempting to get the ministry to abandon the logo, but still hopes for an amicable resolution to the dispute. So far the ministry is not commenting.
According to LAT, International House of Pancakes use of the IHOP signature dates all the way back to 1973. The company was founded in 1958.