Friday, March 12, 2010

Tavern on the Green Update

The New York Times has reported that a Federal judge has 86'd Tavern on the Green owner Warner LeRoy's claim to the restaurant's name.

To recap the case, which I discuss in this earlier post, the LeRoy family, who had operated the venerable Central Park restaurant under contract since the early '70s, clandestinely registered the name of the restaurant as property of the family business. When the LeRoys lost the bid to renew their contract to operate the restaurant, they claimed ownership of the name. Had the LeRoys won the case, the city would not be allowed to continue to use Tavern on the Green as it has since the '30s.

There's a valuable lesson to be learned here: a trademark registration is not a guarantee of continued ownership of a mark! Stephan Elias and Richard Stim spend much of their Trademark: Legal Care for your Business or Product Name discussing how to choose a mark and evaluate its strength.

Anyone registering a mark, from an independent entrepreneur to the City of New York, does well to carefully consider the viability of a mark before registration.

Speaking of entrepreneurs, the Tavern is for sale, name and all.

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