Looks like the trademark police staged a little raid in Forest Hills

Big Pizza

Seems somebody told My Big Fat Greek Pizza the name had to go, because this morning it's just Big Pizza. The place had been using the movie-like name since it opened more than six years ago.

Big and fat and Greek: Pizza!No more.

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Trademark, not copyright. And

Trademark, not copyright. And it's not easy to get a trademark on a title of a creative work, so I suspect this has more to do with other similarly named restaurants or just strongly worded but dubious letters.

Indeed. The trademark symbol

Indeed.

The trademark symbol -- ™ -- has no circle (or parentheses), nor does its associate, the service mark symbol -- ℠. (The former is for goods, the latter for services)

It is the registered trademark symbol -- ® -- that has a circle.

There are actually rules about which businesses may use in which circumstances.

Doubt it

Every once in a while I have a craving for it, but by "once in a while" I mean like once a year. English Muffin pizzas are better than that stuff. It's a mystery to me why there are so many Greek pizza places.

Convenience and 'good

Convenience and 'good enough.' If I had the two in front of me, I'd take Italian over Greek every time, but I have bought the Greek. it's got crust and cheese, and when you finish eating it, you can go back to work not hungry.

I do know people who like Greek pizza. I wouldn't take away their civil rights because of it.

Why are there so many Greek pizza places?

In the late 1960s and early '70s there was a huge amount of emigration from Greece, for political and economic reasons, and many young people settled in and near Boston. And they started pizza parlors. There was one Greek businessman in the metro area who would finance young men in the pizza business, teaching them how to do it from the ground up, on the condition that they had to buy provisions and supplies from his wholesale business. All those places set up as the "XXXXX House of Pizza" -- Cambridge House of Pizza, Boston House of Pizza, and so on -- and they all seemed identical -- identical menus, graphics, recipes, and so on. After all, none of those store owners knew anything about pizza until they arrived in Boston and linked up with their compatriot who showed them the ropes, and they all bought everything from the same purveyor.

There were other Greek pizza places that started independently, and some of them showed a bit of variety, like offering gyros or other menu items. I'd say up to half of the Greek places were independent, and half (or more) were Houses of Pizza.

In Cambridge where I live there used to be a lot more Greek pizza places than there are now. Many of them have just faded away. I can only think of a couple that are still in business.

But when I was a college student, maybe because I didn't know better, I loved Greek pizza. I used to eat many a meal at the Charcoal Pit in Central Square.

THANK GOD

Because I kept walking into the place thinking it was some kind of Museum or tribute to the movie of the similar name and kept waving my first at the air when I found out it was nothing more than, of all things, a place that served pizza.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 38 times, still shame on you.

Probably

I recall reading somewhere that titles (at least of books, and I'm guessing other similar "art" like movies) can't be protected. I think the article mentioned that titles are so limited in words - often a single word, that it would bring the courts to a standstill if you started trademarking/copyrighting things based on titles. Somebody could start taking all kinds of popular words and phrases, write up a short piece of junk on it and then start claiming rights to it.

Probably gets complicated when you build a franchise around the title - such as Star Wars - you might be able to write a book titled Star Wars, but you probably couldn't merchandise something with that name. Hey, the lawyers gotta eat too!

I think the article mentioned

I think the article mentioned that titles are so limited in words - often a single word, that it would bring the courts to a standstill if you started trademarking/copyrighting things based on titles. Somebody could start taking all kinds of popular words and phrases, write up a short piece of junk on it and then start claiming rights to it.

No, it's not that. After all, you can protect band names (bands offer entertainment services, so it's at least a service mark), and you can even protect things that aren't words, e.g. the color pink for insulation batting is a trademark of Owen Corning, IIRC.

The issue is that a trademark cannot describe the goods it marks, so much as it must indicate that goods with that mark share a particular common origin. For example, the mark APPLE for fruit merely describes the fruit itself, while APPLE for computers doesn't describe the marked good, but does serve to indicate that the computers ultimately come from someplace other than where computers marked DELL or HEWLETT-PACKARD come from.

The problem with the titles of works is that that is the title of the work -- even if it's fairly abstract or a non-sequitur with regard to the content -- is what people use to refer to the work as a good, rather than to indicate a good that comes from a particular source. HAMLET is the name of the play, not the name of a particular edition of the play from a particular publisher, as distinguished from other editions from other publishers.

If you have a series of works, e.g. Harry Potter and the Endless Revenue Stream, or a book where the content changes regularly, e.g. the Farmer's Almanac of Random Predictions, then it's possible to get a trademark on it. There's some rules on this at the TMEP, section 1208.

Change of ownership

The Greeks sold the place. I guess the new owners wanted to have a new name but decided to be thrifty and just fudge with the sign a bit. The economy, you know. My son was super concerned that the pizza would change. But no. It's exactly the same.

Clever name!

"Big Pizza" is such a dumb name that I can't help but love it!!! I have never been to that place, because I mean, for no reason really, just like I've never been to "La Hacienda" or whatever the hell that's called on Hyde Park Ave. All of that shit I just drive by on my way from Rozzie to Forest Hills, it seems.

But now with this new stupid name for completely stupid reasons, I have a reason to go in there and ask "So, is the pizza really really big?!?!!?" and delight in being met with eye-rolls.