Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Papa H and the Martini

During my Christmas break, a newstory caught my eye. The owner of a bar in Greensboro, North Carolina is being sued by author Ernest Hemingway’s heirs for trademark infringement. Jeff Schleuning, owner of Hemingway’s Downtown, claims he named his membership-based bar after the English Bulldog that was his boyhood pet. Hemingway’s heirs don’t care—“The question is whether there is consumer confusion over the source of the name," said John F. Morrow Jr, the attorney representing the heirs.

Okay, a quick Internet search reveals that Hemingway is not a unique name for a bar. There’s Hemingway’s Tropical Bar and Grill in Marietta, Georgia; Hemingway’s Bar and Grill in Rockport, Texas; Heminway’s Bar, which is part of the Portillo Restaurant Group of Chicago, Illinois; Hemingway’s of Toronto, Ontario Canada; Hemingway’s Key West Grille of Denver, Colorado; and of course there’s the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Paris. Some of these places display a disclaimer that they’re not associated with the author. Most, however, are quite open that they draw their name from Papa Hemingway and honor him; have they all paid blood money to the heirs for name usage? Why are the author’s heirs choosing to pick on only one bar, who doesn’t even claim to associate its name at all with Papa H? Why tie up the courts with these obtuse claims?


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