Robinson Brog Sustains New York Venue Against Beverly Hills Restaurateurs
Robinson Brog’s clients, the owners of the upscale New York City restaurant Philippe by Philippe Chow, represented by Robinson Brog Attorneys A. Mitchell Greene, Lawrence S. Hirsh, and Nicholas M. Menasche, recently successfully defeated a motion to dismiss brought by the operators of an unauthorized Philippe restaurant in Beverly Hills, CA.
The case was brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for federal trademark and trade dress infringement, and various state law claims, after the defendants closed an authorized Philippe restaurant in Hollywood, CA and opened the Beverly Hills restaurant without agreeing to a new formal license agreement. The defendants, who are individuals and entities resident in California, moved to dismiss, arguing that jurisdiction and venue were improper in New York. They also argued that service of process in California was ineffective, principally because the physical description of the main individual defendant in the process server's affidavit did not match his physical appearance. After extensive briefing, including the submission of the process server’s notes demonstrating that the individual defendant had in fact been personally served, the Court denied the motion to dismiss in all respects.
Of particular interest is the Court's finding that all of the defendants could be bound to the forum-selection clause in the expired Hollywood location licensing agreement, based in part on evidence that the parties orally agreed on a temporary license for the Beverly Hills location, thereby incorporating the material terms of the prior licensing agreement. The temporary license has since expired due to the failure of the parties to reach a final license agreement.
. The Court further found that defendants that were related parties to the original license agreement could similarly be bound to its forum selection clause. Our clients will now be able to proceed to enforce their rights against the continued unauthorized operation of the restaurant.