Lenox Lounge in Harlem goes after Lenox Social on trademark infringement?

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I am so disappointed right now by Lenox Lounge in Harlem if this article in Crain’s New York proves true. Crain’s reported April 8 that “Harlem’s Lenox Lounge sent “representatives” to the bar [Lenox Social] to inform the newcomers that using the name Lenox Social “constituted trademark infringement.”

Get outta here! Can you believe this? This just smells of pure desperation and greed on one side. Why is Lenox Lounge going after Lenox Social when they can’t even pay their rent, according to a recent article in the Daily News? Shouldn’t the owners of Lenox Lounge worry about saving their own home before going after someone else’s? And why can’t there be a Lenox Lounge and Lenox Social on Lenox Avenue in Harlem? There’s room for everyone to play in the restaurant sand box and who ultimately has the rights to the name “Lenox?”.

This is just sad and making me want to sort of retract my earlier blog post on Lenox Lounge. I really hope this article proves to be wrong or I hope Lenox Social doesn’t end up caving to this potential nonsense and change their name.

This story is clearly not over. Stay tuned.

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24 responses to “Lenox Lounge in Harlem goes after Lenox Social on trademark infringement?

  1. Crain Communications Inc is a publishing conglomerate based in Detroit, Michigan.[1] The company publishes a variety of trade newspapers, including some city-based business newspapers, such as Crain’s Cleveland Business, Crain’s Chicago Business, Crain’s Detroit Business, and Crain’s New York Business. These weeklies follow the same formula, including finance, manufacturing, health care, real estate, technology, and government sections, as well as an “in-depth” section. In addition to newspaper production, the editors maintain Internet versions of these papers and offer e-mail news briefs free of charge.

  2. Don’t know about US law but in England the question is not about ‘rights to Lenox’ but ‘could the name cause confusion in the eye’s of the public?’

    Similar name, similar business, similar location so the answer is yes.

  3. Yes, I totally understand Lenox Lounge’s point. A good example of confusion in the eyes of the public would be the Ray’s Pizza chain in Manhattan (no relation to me). Copy cats have watered down the brand with wannabe pizza names like Famous Ray’s Pizza, The Original Ray’s Pizza, etc.

    Another example would be the cheap hot dog stands downtown. We now have Gray’s Papaya, Papaya King, etc. I can’t even now remember which one is the original famous hot dog stand.

    Also, when the current owner of Lenox Lounge sells his lease, or finally gives up his brick and mortar bar, all that he will have left is his trademarked name, and that can be a nice source of income for an aging lounge proprietor.

    I also understand Lenox Social not wanting to fight the issue in court, since it could be costly and time consuming for a new business trying to get on it’s feet.

  4. Glad Lenox Social is doing something fresh. Lenox Lounge should take note. Shits stale. Reason they’re going under is they aren’t keeping up with the times. Don’t try to blame it on a name.

    • Lenox Lounge did not “go under” because they were not keeping up with the times. Couldn’t be further from the truth. You need to do your research before you indict. Your facts are skewed.

  5. Everyone is right on this one. The owner can’t make it and all he has left is his trademark name. By having another group nearby, folks might forget about him. But if kept up with the times, he wouldn’t be in this situation. You can also see the generational divide. Older Harlemites are struggling and instead of embracing those in the community who could have help, they ignored the support which hurt everyone. In the end, their legacy will be remembered in a negative light. It’s sad. And the examples they have set, creates more division.

  6. I think they are right for going after them they shouldn’t have done that to the Lenox Lounge I’m so tried of these new investors coming into Harlem and displacing the people who have pace the way her for many years and you as a writer of journalism you should not be talking like that you talk as to though you have shares into the Lenox Social

    • @anonymous. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. And for the record, I have no shares/investment in Lenox Social or any other business in Harlem. I wish, but I don’t. My only investment is in the Village of Harlem through spending at various establishments, owning a home in Harlem and creating a platform known as HarlemGal-Inc to discuss all the great things that are happening in Harlem. Sorry to hear you don’t approve of my choice of words in this blog post. I hate to break it to you, I am not the only one that feels this way about Lenox Lounge’s desperate and ridiculous actions toward Lenox Social. Just do a search and you will find identical positions to mine as well as similar but limited positions to yours.

      I do agree with your comments about displacement. No one should be displaced. We should all live together in peace and harmony, and for the greater good of Harlem.

      • I support your position. And people of color have to stop being afraid of progress and change.
        Change is everywhere. Diversity and sustainability will keep memories alive. Sharing in a meaningful and positive way. That means living outside of the box. It’s gonna happen whether people like it or not.

    • Thanks for your response on this thread Anonymous. The long standing Community of the Village of Harlem does not have a problem with “Newcomers” who respect the long standing customs/culture of the Village and are not a component of the arrogant displacement of that Community.

  7. HarlemGal,having been a follower of your blog for what I think is a good length of time, I find myself somewhat disappointed in your response to (Anonymous, 4/14/2012 @ 10:25 AM). I know that this is heated discussion on the other Harlem blogs, as it is on yours. However, what I don’t see on the other blogs (or at least on the other major Harlem blog that I follow) is the blogger stepping in to decide which side is right on the issue. I do understand what Anonymous meant when she/he commented on the impartiality of your initial posting. I too, was somewhat surprised that you had already taken such a strong stance on the issue before the discussion could even begin. As you know, I was one of the earlier followers to leave a comment on your initial posting, and have enjoyed reading all the subsequent comments that followed. However, my initial comment on 4/9/12 was meant to stimulate conversation by bolstering Lenox Lounge’s position in counter-balance to your initial one-sided post. And I would like to believe that I still remain neutral on this issue between two businesses, both of which I would like to support.

    Of course, having been a long time Harlem resident, I have gone to Lenox Lounge many times and look forward to stopping in at Lenox Social soon to support their business, as well. I try to sample all the new businesses that come to Harlem whether 20, 10, 5, or one year ago. However, the issue at hand here is really very narrow (whether or not the chosen name is a trademark infringement ), and should not be blown up to include all sorts of ancillary matters, such as whether Lenox Lounge is “stale,” or that “they can’t even pay their own rent.” And on the other side, whether Lenox Social investors are “displacing people who have paved the way here for many years” should also not be part of this discussion. Lets all try to keep our eye on the ball and have a healthy and focused discussion. And HarlemGal, I will be looking to you to make sure that is what happens.

    • @Ray thanks for adding additional comments and for being a long time reader of HarlemGal Inc. Much appreciated. And sorry to hear you’re disappointed with my position on this topic.

      First, I would like to stress and remind that I am a blogger. I am active on social networks just like you and many other Harlemites. I have an opinion, whether it be right or left, up or down, black or white; and I choose to share my opinions in an open forum. I am not bound by an editor, which some might think I am as a blogger, but I am not. I do not receive compensation at this time, which some Harlem blogs do and its their right. Maybe that’s why they stay neutral? Who knows? But again, their right.

      Second, a blog is an open journal and it can go in any direction it chooses. Since I own this blog, I choose to mostly blog about all things positive happening in Harlem. At times, I have chosen to take a position on certain topics happening in Harlem. For example, I have taken a position on Lee, Lee’s Baked Goods, Cedric French Bistro, TedX Harlem, Lenox Lounge when it publicly claimed hardship to the NY Daily News, and I have taken it up with a few journalists, not bloggers, on my twitter account about their negative reporting on Harlem. So to characterize HarlemGal Inc as a neutral blog is-to me-completely inaccurate. In fact, I have been called on other blogs a Harlem cheerleader on crack for so much one-sidedness-mainly on the positive side.

      As for the tone of my blog post on Lenox Lounge vs Lenox Social, at that time I truly felt so disappointed and frustrated that this was the card Lenox Lounge choose to play. Out of all the business cards to choose from given their current financial constraints was that really the primary card to choose from? Like many social networkers, I am asking, not looking for agreement, only discussion.

      I hope my response sheds some light on where I am coming from as a blogger. And again, thank you for contributing to the discussion and for reading HarlemGal Inc.

    • Ray, can you, please steer me to some other blogs on Harlem that you find interesting? Thank You.

  8. NuJapple
    Well said Ray, I concur!

  9. Thank you HarlemGal for blogging about things that are sometimes difficult. If you always blogged about things that are rosey, that would surely not be credible or reflect the reality of living in Harlem.

  10. djjaffe@gmail.com

    Walked by Lenox Social today and the signs saying “Lenox Social” were off, so I guess Lenox Lounge ‘won’.

    • @DJJaffe. Yes, all signage of Lenox Social is gone. I was there this past Friday and signage was gone.

      Lenox Social is expected to announce a new name tomorrow and they’re having a big celebration. Stop by. I hear a lot of folks are going to show their support. And I don’t believe this went to court or litigation. Lenox Social decided early on they would settle by changing their name to avoid any conflict with another local business.

  11. Hi HarlemGal, first of all of the owner of Lenox Lounge never made a complaint about the name Lenox Social. He only found out about it 3 weeks after, when Lenox Social owner approach him early one morning when he was locking up. She said that she was looking for the Lenox Lounge owner and could he help her reach him. To her surprise, he said I am the owner. She said you are not the person who came to my place and said we might be infringing upon your name. She then described the two persons who said that to her. He did not know who they were then, the later after some investigations, he found out who they were. They were one of his employees who had no authorization to do so, and a customer. Next time please check both sides of such a controversial subject, and as you should know you can always believe what you read in the papers. Besides, the Lenox Lounge is only a skip from the now Corner Social, and could have very easily been verified. It could have avoided these back and forth comments.

  12. Once, when eating at the bar @ “Social Corner”, and listening to somewhat unconventional music to played in a Harlem Bistro, I requested some Miles Davis to be played on the music box. Problem was, that the bartender did not know who Miles Davis was or what Miles Davis did, for that matter…….

  13. Overall, the problem that exists is that the “Crain’s” article was not true, and you relied on it to make your initial opinion. Harlem is often mis-understood, often by the people that live there today, but have not taken the time nor energy to do their cultural research.

    • Thanks for your comments Dennis. Much appreciated. I do live in Harlem and have for several years. Whether the Crains article is accurate or inaccurate in your view, as a blogger I can interpret it as I wish the same way you can. I’m blogging about the information that is out there about Harlem and have been for several years. You may disagree with my comments on Lenox and that’s part of the process of blogging in an open forum.

      By the way, what’s the latest with Lenox Lounge opening at their new location?

  14. I wasn’t going to breathe new life into this conversation since it is a year old but….Dennis, your remarks go straight to the point about Harlem and its new transplants. I love that story about Miles Davis and the Corner Social. Point well-made!

    Also, I’d rather not point you to a specific Harlem blog that I find interesting, but if you do a “Google” search on Harlem blogs a few will come up that you can take a look at and maybe follow.

    And as for HarlemGal…try not to be so defensive. You don’t always have to have the last word in every conversation. And I say that with love.

    • @Ray my dear, thank you for always providing insightful comments. Much, much appreciated. And as for the defensiveness remark, it’s my duty to try and respond to every comment from a reader, but I sometimes miss responding due to time constraints. If you’re hearing any defensiveness, its not on this end. Hope this gives some clarity. Have a great day!

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