MoMA Wins Trademark Injunction Against ‘MoMaCha’ Cafe on the Bowery

Posted on: October 2nd, 2018 at 5:00 am by

That headline-grabbing art-cafe on the Bowery, MoMaCha, is in hot water and will need to change its tune.

As expected by many, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) filed a lawsuit five months ago, and last week won a preliminary injunction in federal court against the tea room, forbidding the business from using or promoting the trademarks MOMA and MOMACHA.

Judge Louis Stanton of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District wrote, “Because the Museum has demonstrated irreparable harm, a likelihood of success on the merits, sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation, and that the balance of hardships tilts in its favor, the Museum is entitled to a preliminary injunction.”

This isn’t too surprising given the nature of the cafe’s name and near-identical logo. In fact, the court also found that MoMaCha likely did not act in good faith, intentionally copying MoMA’s trademarks.

Was this all just a failed publicity stunt to drum up business at 312 Bowery?

From the media alert:

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote in an opinion on Friday that MoMaCha’s use of “MOMA” and “MOMACHA” “creates a likelihood of customer confusion” with The Museum’s well-known MoMA trademark, leading customers to mistakenly believe that the art-café and MoMA are affiliated.

If MoMaCha was not ordered to stop using those two trademarks, US District Judge Louis Stanton wrote that “consumers will continue to be confused when they see MOMACHA’s advertising, press coverage, retail products, and social media accounts.” The court based its reasoning on factors including the visual similarity of parties’ marks, competitive proximity of the products, level of sophistication of the purchasers, and actual customer confusion.

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