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.