The recent by Francis Ford Coppola against the Pirraglia family — owners of in Novato — has everyone re-enacting the best lines from the Godfather movie franchise and wondering if the Coppolas and the Pirraglias will come together ... uh, for the benefit of the two families.
In an email to Novato Patch, Jon Paul Pirraglia, a co-owner of the Hamilton Marketplace eatery, believes in good faith that the name of his restaurant “creates no actual conflict with the rights asserted by the Coppola family in their recently filed lawsuit.”
He adds that his family-owned restaurant has “put considerable effort into explaining this to the Coppola family in order to achieve a resolution of the dispute without resort to litigation.”
Francis Ford Coppola filed a lawsuit on April 2 in San Francisco federal court against the local eatery, asserting that its name is too close to the trademark held by Coppola on the words, “a tavola.”
According to the Coppola winery website, the Italian words mean “to the table” and are used to promote a special style of serving food without a menu. At Coppola’s Rustic restaurant in Geyserville, Tuesday nights are reserved for the “a tavola” dining experience.
The letter from Coppola’s attorney to the restaurant’s father and son ownership team of Anthony and Jon Paul Pirraglia states that in using the name Tavola Italian Kitchen, the restaurant — located in a along with a Safeway and a pet supplies store — would cause confusion among consumers.
“… Customers and prospective customers of your restaurant are likely to be misled into believing that your goods and services originate from, are sponsored by, or are associated with Francis Ford Coppola Winery or even Francis Ford Coppola himself, when, indeed, they are not,” the three-page letter reads.
It goes on to request that the owners phase out the use of the Tavola mark “within a commercially reasonable period of time.”
Tavola Italian Kitchen was formerly a pizzeria and underwent a change in in mid-2011. The food now reflects the “farm to table” movement and is prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
The Pirraglias' company, TORG Holding, had also applied for a trademark of Tavola Italian Kitchen in May 2011 but were sent a letter in September 2011 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with refusals based on a likelihood of confusion with three other registered trademark holders: “Tavola Rossa,” “Buona Tavola” and Coppola’s “A Tavola.” The company had a six-month time limit to provide responses to the refusals to keep the application active.
Pirraglia does not say what future actions he plans take in the matter but says that he appreciates the many expressions of support he’s received from the community and is assuring customers that they will continue to provide them with a great dining experience.
In the court of public opinion, the Pirraglias are favored with some hoping the two parties will sit down “a tavola” in Novato and work things out over a bowl of Pork Ragu Strozzapreti paired with a bottle of Coppola’s Votre Santé Pinot Noir.