Posts tagged Pirraglia
Posts tagged Pirraglia
If you live in the Bay Area, perhaps you have heard of Francis Ford Coppola’s lawsuit against small business owner John Pirraglia and his family who own and operate Tavola restaurant in Novato.
Incredibly, this lawsuit asserts that this most basic of Italian words, meaning table, infringes upon Coppola’s trademarked term "a tavola", translated as to the table and is used to describe a special style of serving food without a menu. Yes, it’s trademarked. Yes, it’s very close. But claiming ownership of a basic word in any language is taking it too far. Unless you’re Paris HIlton and you’ve trademarked that’s hot, in which case it’s simply ridiculous.
I argue that there is no chance of consumers becoming confused with the two eateries for three reasons: First, Coppola’s restaurant in question, Rustic, is in Geyserville; not remotely close to Novato. Second, very few people have even heard of yet experienced dinning at a restaurant without a menu. Which leads me to my third reason, Coppola has done a crappy job of marketing his restaurant and is now relying on the press this lawsuit generates in order to market his poorly attended eatery.
I am an educated woman, I even speak a little Italian, and I am confident I would never confuse the two, particularly because I’ve never heard of Rustic and their a tavola experience. I believe that no one else will be confused by the two either, even if you took French in school (Bet you regret that choice now).
Perhaps a larger question is why so many phrases or words are getting trademarked? Will I have to pay someone when I say happy birthday? Or a quippy I don’t think so!? I think several things are overused in our culture of mass abundance: billboards, political correctness, commercialization of pretty much everything and cologne. The billboard statement may seem trivial to you now, but those living in the Bay Area have heard the rumors for years that the Golden Gate Bridge has toyed with the idea of erecting large billboards on the structure to help offset the budget deficit. I kid you not. That bridge is dangerous enough to drive on now without the added hazard of even more distracted drivers. But I digress…..
It is simply going too far to start trademarking every pop culture phrase or ones in a foreign language that mean something similar but different. Really Francis, your 15 minutes of fame were good to you. Don’t do this. You are now just a big fat bully.
For everyone else, go try Tavola in Novato if you haven’t. It’s excellent food in the farm to table concept that has become so popular. You won’t regret it.