Monday, March 14, 2005

Gothamist - MTA Tells Store to F Off

Gothamist has picked up on an interesting IP issue - the NYC MTA (group that runs the subway and busses) is trying to assert their rights in subwayness against a local shop. They are suing a bagel shop called "F Line Bagels" in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. These are trademark claims based on the fact that the shop uses the name "F Line" and also that its interior was made to look like a subway station.

Seriously, there a sooo many places out there that bite on the NYC subway style. Are they paying licensing fees? I doubt it. What about...Subway the sandwich chain? They even have wallpaper featuring NYC landmarks and maps and all.

It doens't seem to me that the MTA has been pursuing these sorts of claims in the past. I don't really know though. I think this would be an interesting case if it ever went to trial and appeal. The defendant would probably have a fair shot at winning based on the fact that so many other shops and goods have diluted the subway MTA trademarks. Who knows.

The MTA is currently in serious financial trouble, so maybe this is part of the new business plan.

Gothamist: MTA Tells Store to F Off

Here's the article in the NY Post.

5 Comments:

Anonymous raven11231 said...

I AM A CARROLL GARDENS RESIDENT OF 45 YEARS.
I READ THE MTA'S POLICIES WHEN ONE PURCHASES THEIR MERCHANDISE, AS F LINE BAGELS HAS DONE.

CASE AND POINT:MTA NO LONGER HOLDS TITLE TO ANY OF THEIR MERCHANDISE, ONCE IT IS SOLD!

I WONDER IF THERE IS 'THE FINE PRINT' MISSING FROM THEIR SITE, REGARDING THE ABOVE-MENTIONED ISSUES!

I HOPE THE OWNERS OF F LINE BAGELS, COUNTER-SUE THE MTA ON SEVERAL ISSUES.

3/16/2005 1:48 AM  
Blogger CRC said...

Typically when one sells a physical item they do not maintain any sort of title in it. However, one may still retain intellectual property rights in a physical item they sell, ie you aren't allowed to copy a cd even after purchase. Also, trade dress could be protected after the sale of items which, when combined, reproduce another's trade dress. I suspect this is what the MTA is suing for - trade dress infringement, as well as simple trademark infringement. Sometimes using something for commercial purposes can be illegal even though it would be ok to have the same item displayed in your private home.

3/16/2005 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good bagels and a pretty nice cashier too !

The MTA should be happy that F Line Bagles - without question - improved the image of the F line in general and the Smith and 9th Street station in particular.

3/16/2005 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the word 'title' at the MTA's site, referring to purchasing their items. Thanks for your reply.

3/24/2005 3:29 AM  
Anonymous DeViLzAnGeLnYc said...

I have been there plenty of times before and after school, and the place is great, and I think that the only reason that they're being sued is because the MTA needs money.

9/01/2005 10:30 PM  

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