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Coppola Suing Novato Restaurant over its Name

DIspute arises over Tavola Italian Kitchen in Hamilton Marketplace.

Francis Ford Coppola is suing the owners of Tavola Italian Kitchen restaurant at the Hamilton Marketplace claiming the restaurant’s name infringes on his trademarked phrase — “a tavola” — used to market his eateries, according to an article in Bloomberg on Thursday.

“A tavola” means “to the table” and according to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery website it is used to describe a casual dining experience where instead of ordering off a menu, a variety of dishes are prepared by the chef and sent to your table.

The “a tavola” concept is a Tuesday evening tradition at Coppola’s Rustic restaurant in Geyserville and is promoted on the company website, absent any symbols denoting that the phrase is a registered trademark.

Tavola Italian Kitchen -- in the Hamilton Marketplace on Nave Drive -- started out as Pasta Moto in 2009 and and menus in May 2011. Tavola is owned by the Pirraglia family — a restaurant group from Norwalk, Conn. — under the name TORG Holdings, Inc. The group also owns a Pasta Moto at the San Francisco Centre.

The patriarch of the family, Anthony Pirraglia, is quoted in the Bloomberg article as saying that the word “tavola” is generic and widely used in the restaurant business. A quick web search revealed at least 20 restaurants with a variation on the name.

Michael Pirraglia, the vice president of TORG Holdings, oversaw the Pasta Moto opening and said in an e-mail to Novato Patch that his brother Jon Paul Pirraglia and sister-in-law Danielle have spearheaded the changeover at the nearly year-old Tavola restaurant.

Pirraglia added he believes Tavola will continue to remain a favorite in Marin.

In a recent rave review in North Bay Bohemian, the writer expressed surprise that such a quality Italian eatery makes its home in a Novato shopping mall.

ratbag April 06, 2012 at 04:41 AM
Ridiculous. The restaurant is called "Tavola" which just means table in Italian. I think the rampant trademarking of words in common usage like "book" and "table" should be curtailed. I hope Coppola loses this lawsuit.
Jane Doe April 06, 2012 at 07:56 AM
Love your movies, but cool it, Frank. You will ONLY come out looking like (or revealing yourself as?) a curmudgeonly crank, with more money than most of us could ever dream of, squashing a small business in a fit of ego. Let it go, fella. How can you even consider use of the Italian word for "table", on an Italian restaurant, for cryin' out loud, to infringe on your turf in any way? Take the high road on this one, and come out ahead.
Craig Belfor April 06, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Funny how a guy whose mom named him after a car company suddenly owns the Italian language, and goes trademark infringement on anyone who gets near him. A good restaurant will survive on the food, not the name, and according to the reviews, Frank, they're winning. Cut back on the legal staff and blow it on chefs.The horse's head approach only works in your movies.
Rick Fraites April 06, 2012 at 04:51 PM
What's next? Joe Blow will now sue every Joe's R estaurant in the world?!
Jane Doe April 06, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Loved this!! Very pithy, and so true.
Steve Glanz April 07, 2012 at 05:03 PM
It is legally inappropriate to conflate the process of "a tavola" table service with the proper name "Tavola." As a Hamilton neighbor who frequents this restaurant, I am in agreement with the comments here. Mr. Coppola will not gain much from this financially. By threatening this small business, he is positioning himself as a bully. The damage to his reputation could impact negatively on his restaurant and film businesses. I suggest he withdraw the lawsuit, apologize, and make a generous public gesture to the community. With such positive action, he will earn points and create a win-win situation for all parties concerned.
Peg Champion April 30, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Shame on ya, Francis! Dont you have enough money? Avido e meschino spirito!

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