Nypd Pizza Settles Trademark Case

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Florida-based NYPD Pizza chain can keep its name Legal fight started in 2005 New York argued logo was trademark violation Diners treated to bills that look like summonses

It may be just a cheesy way to capitalise on the New York police department's reputation, but under terms of a recent settlement NYPD Pizza can keep its name as long as it makes clear it is not affiliated with New York's Finest.

The legal tempest started in 2005, when the city accused the Florida-based chain of "intentionally and purposely" designing its logo to look like the NYPD's uniform patch.

As part of the experience -"An Arresting Taste of New York in Every Bite" - diners are treated to restaurants that resemble police stations, and patrons' bills look like summonses.

Officially, the restaurant's acronym stands for New York Pizzeria Delicatessen. Paul Russo, who opened the first NYPD Pizza in Orlando in 1996 and now has 19 franchises in nine states, says his intent all along was to bring a little New York flavour down south and to demonstrate his feelings for his hometown and for the NYPD. But New York City says the pizzeria's logo - a replica of the NYPD patch - was a trademark violation, and under terms of the agreement, the restaurant was forced to redesign its logo.

But the chain can keep its name, as long as it posts disclaimers explaining it is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NYPD. The chain has also agreed not to open any of its restaurants in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, both sides say.

As NYPD deputy commissioner Paul Browne put it: "Any way you slice it, there's only one NYPD - and it's not on a menu." "This is really about the fact we have a trademark to the NYPD logo and the way it looks," said Connie Pankratz, spokeswoman for the city's Corporation Counsel. "It's a constant effort to preserve the NYPD brand." Indeed, the city makes about 10 percent of the $11 million worth of NYPD merchandise sold by official licensees.

Russo says he's glad the settlement was reached. "It was a bit wearisome coping with the fact that my company had to encounter legal distress with the city in which I am so proud to hail from," he said. "I am very pleased with the conclusion for my franchise system and can now venture forward in making the franchising of NYPD Pizza the most successful in the world."

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N.Y.P.D. Pizza
2589 South Hiawassee Road.
Orlando, FL

Phone: (407)872-6973
Fax: (407)296-4463

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