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Tomato fight: Restaurants battle over name

Wicked Local Needham reports the owners of two restaurants named Pomodoro in the North End and Brookline are stewing over a Needham restaurant's attempt to paste the same name - which means "tomato" in Italian - on its storefront: The former's lawyer wants the latter to can it and threatens to dice them up, in a saucy letter to both the owners and Needham officials. The owners of the Needham restaurant refuse to be crushed, say there's no heirloom status for "Tomato" as a name.

Of course, all this leaves West Roxbury residents wondering if Pomodoro's Italian Kitchen can catch up.

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Nothing to add, expect I love this post. All parties should just call the whole thing off!

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I know that this seems a little silly to those on the outside, but I can understand why the Pomodoro folks of the North End/Brookline are a bit miffed. Some context is in order.

The Village Fish, formerly located immediately next to Pomodoro/Brookline, decamped to Needham (one of many restaurants that have taken advantage of that town's shift on booze). So when people, myself included, heard that a "Pomodoro" was opening in Needham, we asked, "you mean under the same ownership as the one in Brookline and the North End? Is the Brookline one moving?" That is precisely the type of consumer confusion that trademark law is designed to prevent, and I am not sure the owner of the Needham restaurant is correct in his assertion that the name cannot be trademarked (and for that matter, the article does not say whether the NE/Brookline folks actually did trademark it).

(Disclosure: Pomodoro Brookline is perhaps my favorite restaurant.)

Almost everyone I know loves Pomodoro (of Brookline). It seems to do a very brisk business. Knowing how thin the margins are in the restaurant business, I can understand how the North End/Brookine folks might be concerned that some unaffiliated restaurant with substantially the same name about 10 miles away might negatively affect them if the new restaurant is not positively received. Let's hope that everyone likes the one in Needham too, and that the great tomato fight does not escalate.

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Just thought I'd add in that I also incorrectly assumed (and was excited about) the restaurant was another Branch of the Brookline restaurant.

I was excited when Petit Robert created a new location in Needham, I know that Village Fish came in, it just seemed to make sense. Not so much an indictment than a fact. I think if I were these prospective restaurateurs, I would want a more distinctive identity, anyway - not have to fight for a name that is bound to cause confusion even if this translation may seem very common.

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