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Published: Tuesday, 1/26/2010

Downtown Toledo restaurant to pick a new name

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The owners of an eatery planned for a popular downtown restaurant site are cooking up a new name after a trademark infringement complaint forced them to abandon their original choice.

Lawyer David Purdue confirmed Monday that An Mynt Toledo LLC will pick a new name for the three-floor Tex-Mex establishment that it plans to open in the former Diva restaurant, 329 North Huron St.

No name has been selected yet, he said.

In an indication that the dispute is close to resolution, U.S. Judge James Carr last week postponed a court hearing and ordered the two sides to file either a status report or a request to dismiss the case by Feb. 22.

"The parties are discussing settlement," said Gregg Emch, a Toledo lawyer who represents the Florida group. "The court is giving us an opportunity to arrive at a settlement or proceed with litigation," he added.

The Toledo restaurant had planned to open by mid-January under the name Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar.

In recent weeks, however, owners covered an elaborate sign bearing that name at the front of the establishment.

Florida-based Taco Tavern LLC filed suit Jan. 8 in U.S. District Court in Toledo claiming that the Toledo business had wrongly appropriated the name from a pair of restaurants it operates in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton.

The Florida firm said that it held a registration on the name from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and has used it since 2007.

Additionally, its complaint al-leged that the sign on the Toledo establishment "is virtually identical to the signage of" the Florida restaurants.

The firm said it has had problems in the past with out-of-town restaurants attempting to use the name. "As plaintiff's restaurants are in areas of high tourism, the uniqueness of the restaurants and their marks have spread nationally and has led to copycat activities by others."

Saad "Steve" Roumaya, who is part of the Toledo ownership group, didn't return a call seeking comment yesterday.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Yesterday, carpenters continued to prepare the interior of the former Diva restaurant.

Mr. Purdue, the establishment's lawyer, was unsure when it will open or when a new name will be selected.

Contact Gary Pakulski at:

gpakulski@theblade.com

or 419-724-6082.



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