Prof Goldman forwarded me this NY state case regarding John’s Pizza (of Bleecker Street) enjoining the owner’s daughter from using JOHN’S PIZZA. He noted that he had never heard of JOHN’S PIZZA and couldn’t believe that the name could be a particularly strong trademark.
I’ve been familiar with JOHN’S PIZZA since forever and took the fam there last month, in fact. JOHN’S PIZZA functions as a trademark to me. The prof’s assertion led me to ruminate on the nature of diluted trademarks. They can function as marks within their own narrow sub-channel of trade. In New York, at least, you can slice the pizza channel into sub-channels: slice pizzerias; family sit-down no-slice; family sit-down no-slice table cloth; family non-slice table cloth plus other Italian dishes; and Mario Batali.
JOHN’S PIZZA on Bleecker Street is possibly the best known family sit-down no slice pizza place in New York.
If you Google JOHN’S PIZZA (at least in this part of the world), the first hit is defendant in this case (the estranged daughter). There’s a contractual element to this dispute. The use of ‘no-slice’ on the web page is probably an aggravating factor.
What should I get for lunch? Perhaps FAMIGLIA PIZZA, the best pizza in White Plains (and client of the firm).
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