In a corner of Manhattan’s East Village there sits an unassuming little Chinese dumpling restaurant that has had a short but lively two-year existence.
In addition to receiving a slew of favorable reviews, the eatery, known as Dumpling Man, has been at the center of not one but two trademark infringement cases.
The first was set in motion when a nearby dumpling shop called Plump Dumpling put up a sign bearing a strong resemblance to Dumpling Man’s. The sign was later changed.
But a recent case is even more egregious, according to Dumpling Man’s owner, Lucas Lin.
This time, he said, “they only put a hat on it.”
And that hat could well be a yarmulke.
Several weeks ago, while on his way to work, one of Lin’s chefs spotted a glatt kosher restaurant in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. It bore a logo that was a virtual replica of Dumpling Man’s.
In response to calls from both Lin and the Forward, the Riverdale shop, Dumplings USA, denied any knowledge of its treyf downtown counterpart — which is odd, given how the similarities don’t end with just the store logo. The Riverdale eatery employs a “buy nine, get one free” punch card that also bears more than a passing resemblance to Dumpling Man’s.
Lin is pursuing legal action. His lawyer is in the process of sending a cease-and-desist letter to Dumplings USA — the same strategy that Lin used to get Plump Dumpling to alter its sign.
Time will tell if he will get satisfaction.
For now, he has contented himself with putting up some signs of his own.
Plastered across his shop is a flier that reads, “Stealing is not kosher.”
This story "Restaurateur: Logo a No-go" was written by Eric Herschthal.