Current Camellia Grill Owner Has Right To Use Name, Trademarks

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The current owner of the Camellia Grill restaurant is the rightful possessor of the popular New Orleans' eatery's name, a judge has ruled.

         U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo on Friday denied claims from the restaurant's former owner that the name and other trademarks were not transferred in a sale nearly nine years ago.

         The Advocate’s Jaquetta White reports that Milazzo found the bill of sale gives Uptown Grill rights to all Camellia Grill trademarks that were on file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when the transaction was completed. She said there is no violation of any trademark laws.

         The nearly 70-year-old diner has been popular for generations with college students, Uptown residents and tourists. It is known for its menu of comfort foods, such as oversized omelets and cheeseburgers, served at a counter by outgoing waiters who often banter with customers and one another.

         Uptown Grill LLC, owned by Hickam Khodr, filed suit in December 2013 against the former owner, Camellia Grill Holdings Inc., and its president Michael Shwartz. Uptown Grill asked the court to declare it the rightful owner of any "recipes, trademarks, names, logos, likenesses" as well as any property located inside the diner when it was sold in August 2006.

         Uptown Grill maintained that as a result of the sale, it became the owner of the restaurant's name, in part because it appears on the logo and signage that the company purchased.

         Shwartz argued the restaurant name was not sold as part of the transaction. He said the restaurant had been allowed to continue operating as Camellia Grill only because of a licensing agreement.

         That agreement, which led to the opening of a second Camellia Grill location in 2010 in the French Quarter, was terminated in 2013 after trial and appeals court judges ruled that Khodr had violated the terms of the deal by altering the Camellia Grill logo and failing to pay Shwartz royalties.

         As a result of that order, the French Quarter location has featured a new logo and, since 2013, has been known as The Grill.

         "The judgment is clear," Khodr said. "We own the logo. We own the name. We own everything right now."

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