Restaurant Law Blog

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reputation at Stake when Buying, Selling, Naming Restaurant in New York City

A judge's ruling gives New York City exclusive rights to the name Tavern on the Green for restaurant services in Manhattan and the outer buroughs. However, the settlement could allow the name to be used by others outside the tri-state region, the Wall Street Journal reports.
 

While fate of the famous Central Park landmark's moniker was settled in bankruptcy court in this case, it illustrates a number of areas of restaurant law in New York for which it can be critical to seek the advice of a Manhattan restaurant attorney.


A restaurant's reputation -- in fact, its entire worth in many cases -- is wrapped up in its name. So much so that francise purchases are often made for the sole purpose of buying a business name and reputation. In other cases, copyright and trademark disuptes can arise when an upstart business attempts to siphon off customers with a similar name or other infringement upon your reputation.

In this case the name "Tavern on the Green" can be marketed for use outside the New York area, including an area of Pennsylvania. While the buyer can use the trademark, it must have distinguishing features and make clar that it is not related to the Tavern in New york City.


The famed New York City landmark eatery closed in 2009 after its owners filed for bankruptcy.

Restaurant owners can also find themselves on the other side of this legal issue: Naming a restaurant for your favorite sports team is just one way you can find yourself in a copyright or trademark dispute. The Canadian Press reports a restaurant owner was told he would be fined $1,000 a day until he removed a sign featuring the red-and-white Canadiens jersey. He didn't believe it until he received an $89,000 bill from the National Hockey League.

James DiPasquale, Esq.

DIPASQUALE LAW GROUP

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