Rolex sues New York deli for using brand name

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Cafe said to be giving false impression to customers.

Luxury watch brand Rolex is threatening to call time on a New York cafe that happens to be called Rolex Deli – for fears that it will confuse customers who may go there looking for a Swiss-made timepiece rather than a sandwich.

The Brooklyn-based deli in the district of Fort Greene is facing a trademark infringement lawsuit filed in Manhattan by Rolex.

The lawsuit outlines that the deli’s name gives the “false impression that defendants and their services and goods are in some way affiliated with Rolex”.

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The company says that the deli’s owner Shawqu Ali has used its name to confuse passers-by, despite the fact that the cafe’s outside awning outlines its products as grilled sandwiches, coffee, beer and sodas.

Ali told the New York Post that there was nothing Rolex-related on the menu. “Apparently, Rolex doesn’t know the difference between a sandwich and a watch. Regular people know the difference,” he told the newspaper.

The State Division of Corporations apparently approved the name before he opened four months ago but Rolex argues that the deli threatens to “dilute the distinctiveness of the Rolex trademark.”

Rolex now expects Ali to pay unspecified damages, change the deli’s name and “immediately destroy any and all signs, posters, advertising, promotional or marketing materials or supplies” related to the Rolex name.

Ali claims it will cost “at least $30,000” to change his signage and store facade. Though he has vowed to fight, he says the issue has made him lose respect for the brand. “I used to respect Rolex, but they are making me hate them. I’ll have to sell my Rolexes now.”

 

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