PASTA MAKERS BOIL OVER IN TRADEMARK DISPUTE
Cipriani Group, Inc. (CGI), parent of the eponymous New York City restaurants and importer of Italian food is suing Cipriani’s Pasta and Sauce, Inc. over alleged trademark infringement. CGI was founded in Venice in the 1930s with the flagship Harry’s Bar Restaurant, and currently operates restaurants and bars in locations around the world. The company also sells imported pasta, olive oil, wine, and other Italian food products at a New York City retail store and through national retailers including Dean & Deluca and Williams-Sonoma.
CGI alleges that the Chicago-based pasta and sauce maker, which according to the Chicago Tribune, also traces its roots back more than 80 years to a restaurant founded by the Cipriani family in Chicago in 1929, is infringing its trademarks and creating a likelihood of consumer confusion. Cipriani Pasta & Sauce, owned by Annette Johnson, sells its spaghetti sauces and dry pastas online and in major grocery retailers across the United States, including Wal-Mart.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. CGI is alleging cybersquatting, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and trademark infringement of its CIPRIANI and CIPRIANI FOOD marks, among others. CGI specifically alleges that on the websites editableeatables.com and amazon.com, Cipriani’s Pasta & Sauce photos utilize the registered marks and created customer confusion, as evidenced by the Amazon ‘Frequently Bought Together’ selections.
Whether this complaint sticks to the wall or falls flat remains to be seen.
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