Terrance Brennan is a noted Manhattan restaurateur who recently opened TERRANCE BRENNAN’S SEAFOOD AND CHOPHOUSE. The NY Times (registration required) reports that he prevailed yesterday in a lawsuit brought by the Brennan’s Inc, described as “the company that runs the 53-yr old restuarant in New Orleans.” Showing how much he learned during this experience, Terrence Brennan is quoted today saying “I didn’t know you could copyright a name.” (OK, to be fair, I can’t cook).
Unfortunately Judge McKenna does not appear to participate in CourtWeb do there’s no decision to link to. There’s more to the case than the Times reports. In addition to the personal name issue there is a messy concurrent use situation. Brennan’s Inc. has multiple locations and does have a federal registration. However there are least two other split-offs from the Brennan family, one group which owns some concurrent rights in the mark BREAKFAST AT BRENNAN’S (outside of New Orleans) and one group which runs DICKIE BRENNAN’S STEAKHOUSE (in New Orleans), whose website begins “Not affiliated with Brennan’s Restaurant.”
I would hope New Orlean’s favorite Attorney, Ernie, can provide us with some local color on this story.
UPDATE: Ernie reports that he once worked as a waiter for a Brennan’s restaurant named THE COMMANDER’S PALACE and that it was there he learned all the really useful stuff he knows.