People who are born with original thoughts don’t steal other people’s great ideas; they trademark their own. They all “get” plagiarism. While they might be inspired by others, they don’t take someone else’s words or images for their own. It’s just not necessary. This is also what makes them leaders, not followers.

The question of who’s on first and what’s on second is an interesting one. In the law suit that Francis Ford Coppola has initiated with Tavola Italian Kitchen in Novato, Coppola asserts that he first opened his restaurant called “Rustic” in Geyserville, California in 2008. Both Rustic and his San Francisco Café Zoetrope serve their food in A Tavola style (Italian translated “to the table”) since 2008.


“The A Tavola mark is inherently distinctive and has become known by the public as indicative of the high quality restaurant services provided by the Coppola Family Trust,” reads the 93-page lawsuit.“

Inspired by Francis Coppola’s favorite way of enjoying a meal, Rustic and Café Zoetrope … offer a restaurant service experience under the name A Tavola. During A Tavola, guests at Coppola Family Trust restaurants are not provided with printed menus. Instead, servers come to each table offering an assortment of family-style selections.”

Then a year ago, owner Anthony Pirraglia decided to name his new Novato restaurant Tavola Italian Kitchen; but not right away, mind you. He first named it Pasta Moto, then changed the name to Tavola Italian Kitchen.

So, Coppola’s on first, even though one is a style of serving in a restaurant and the other is the name of a restaurant. They are both about food, and that’s what usually determines a trademark… Is anyone else using the term in the same business?

What I found most intriguing about that story is that this Novato restaurant had another name first, then changed it. Anyone in marketing will tell you, you don’t change the name of a business unless it’s really in trouble or there’s some other mysterious motive. Go, Francis! Restaurant protocol is just that… I can get to either location in about a half hour, depending on whether I’m going north or south. They’re pretty close from my terrace, so I can see where someone who began something in his neighborhood doesn’t need anyone else sidling in on his great trademarked idea. Yes, Coppola had this word trademarked. That’s the real catch.

I’m siding with Coppola on this one, because I understand it.

I’m beginning to see “Dark & Delicious™” events begin to pop up for Petite Sirah… Even calling them Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah events.

Hey, I started that seven years ago, with early plannings and then executing each year.

It’s like the story of the little red hen. I’ve done ALL the heavy lifting for that one, and all of a sudden others can now have a Dark & Delicious™ event for Petite Sirah? Talk about a way to confuse consumers. “Are you really headed to Massachusetts?” one asks… “No,” is the answer. Even more egregious for me are the events that have happened in San Francisco, using our name. We’ve been to San Francisco with a Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah™ event. How can someone else just go ahead and schedule another one? So, the inevitable. I’ve had to trademark it.

And, I’ve got my cease and desist letters ready to send for any PS Dark & Delicious™ events in the future, if PS I Love You isn’t putting them on.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out for Francis Ford Coppola in the court system. I’m sure that Mr. C will not be backing down on this one, and I can’t say as I blame him.

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