It looks is taking its fight with Francis Ford Coppola over trademark infringement “to the mattresses.”
The suit, filed in April 2012 by the Coppola Family Trust, alleged trademark infringement because the trust holds a trademark to the words “a tavola.” The words mean "to the table" in Italian and are used to describe the family-style service, without a menu, at Coppola’s Rustic restaurant in Geyserville.
But in a legal response filed for Tavola Italian Kitchen in July, the restaurant’s attorneys counter that the trademark should never have been granted because the words are part of a common Italian phrase in the restaurant industry — used by “dozens of restaurants, food wholesalers, and retailers and food catering businesses across the United States.”
Tavola Italian Kitchen co-owner, Jon Paul Pirraglia, called the legal wrangle a long, slow process.
“We did not ask for this fight. We wish it had never happened so that we could devote ourselves to running our family business, particularly in what are hard times for most people," wrote Pirraglia in an e-mail. "But since the matter continues to be aggressively pursued by the Coppola winery, we had no choice but to stand up for our rights."
The kicker is that during the initial trademark application process, the examiner from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a letter in 2009 asking the applicant (Coppola) to explain whether the words “a tavola” had any meaning or significance in the industry and to give English translations of all foreign wording in the mark.
The response submitted on behalf of Coppola said that there is no exact English translation of “a tavola,” adding that it means “table”… in Portuguese! (completely sidestepping the Italian meanings.)
Tavola Italian Kitchen says Coppola’s trademark should be cancelled because it was obtained through false or fraudulent registration or is merely a descriptive term that can’t be trademarked.
The local restaurant is also asking for a jury trial.
If there could be a few Italian hand gestures added to the end of the legal response, I think we know what those would be.