Thursday, 15 July 2010 20:02

NO LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION BETWEEN "DAN TANA'S" AND "DANTANNA'S" RESTAURANTS

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You may remember the character Dan Tanna from Vega$,

but you may not know that the character's name was based on the name of a West Hollywood, California restaurant owner named Dan Tana (used with his permission), whose restaurant, "Dan Tana's," appears below:

Earlier today, that restaurant, which opened in 1964, lost its appeal in a trademark infringement action that was brought against an Atlanta, Georgia based restaurant named Dantanna's:

  

Although several issues are discussed in the Court's decision, which can be read here, possibly the most important factor in the case was the fact that the West Hollywood restaurant, which opened 39 years prior to the Atlanta restaurant, did not have a federal trademark registration.  Accordingly, the Court ruled that its trademark rights were restricted to the Los Angeles market once the Atlanta-based restaurant successfully registered its service mark.  Had the West Hollywood restaurant been the first to register its service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Court may have decided the case differently, as the restaurant would have then have had nationwide rights in the mark.

As illustrated by this case, the importance of a federal trademark registration cannot be understated.

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Oliver Ruiz

Mr. Ruiz is a partner with the firm, and is currently the President of the Federal Bar Association's South Florida Chapter.  Mr. Ruiz is fluent in Spanish and concentrates his practice in Intellectual Property Litigation and Trademark Prosecution. 

Mr. Ruiz earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, and a law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law, where he served as a board member for the Moot Court Board, and as President of the Student Bar Association. He is admitted to practice law in Florida and North Carolina state courts, as well as, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the Middle District of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Mr. Ruiz is an active member of several bar associations, as well as with the Rotary Club of Miami, where he serves as President-Elect of the club.