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.

Recent Stories

Report: Tenement Museum Workers Unionize

The front-facing staff of the Tenement Museum, after many failed attempts throughout the years, have finally agreed to unionize. A vote was held last week in which all education, retail, and visitor services employees mobilized to join Local 2110 UAW (United Auto Workers). The measure passed by a 96% margin. The vote was spurred by […]

Sunshine Cinema Signage Carted Away

Sunshine, sunset, swiftly goes the demolition. Indeed, no sooner did the sidewalk bridge appear at 141 East Houston Street than workers deposed the Sunshine Cinema neon lettering. We’re told that a van carted the signage away yesterday. Co-owner-developer East End Capital did not return our request about the fate of the letters. Meanwhile, the demolition […]

New Essex Street Market Sets Opening Date at Essex Crossing [Updated]

Seventy-nine is a momentous age for the Essex Street Market. Now, more than five years in the making, the Lower East Side institution opened by Mayor LaGuardia in 1940 is finally ready to cross Delancey. The date for its opening at Essex Crossing has been set. Mark the calendar for Monday morning, May 13. In […]

Ready to Win the Weekend? [SPONSOR]

“Let’s meet for drinks” is starting to get lamer than Netflix-and-chill. Amp up your culture factor, impress your date, and maybe even take home great new art at Superfine! Art Fair, opening May 1 with a champagne washed inaugural party in SoHo. Explore three rooms chock full of awesome art by 80+ top-tier emerging artists. […]

He Said, She Said: A Two-City Concert Review of KOLARS

KOLARS is a Los Angeles-based rock duo, formerly of folk outfit He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, and the latest in our “He Said/She Said” music series. They’ve been relentlessly on tour for the past three years (over 400 shows since 2016), and while Passover prevented us from getting to the New York gig, we […]