LIC Bars Battle Over Their Name

BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Staff Writer

A local bar in Long Island City is battling for the authenticity of its name with a neighboring bar that opened last fall.

Mixologist Richard Boccato, owner of a bar called Dutch Kills, located at 27-24 Jackson Ave., recently filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn Federal Court against Dominic Stiller, one of the owner’s of a bar called Dutch Kills Centraal, located at 38-40 29th St., in Long Island City.

According to the complaint, Boccato, who regularly consults bars and restaurants on physical design and cocktail and ice programs, opened Dutch Kills five years ago, said he has been “contacted on countless occasions by confused patrons” because they are under the false impression that the two bars are affiliated.

Stiller, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, said he opened Dutch Kills Centraal with the goal of it becoming “a gathering place for the community.”

The lawsuit argues that because Dutch Kills has received a lot of unsolicited media attention and awards, the Dutch Kills mark “has become well-known by the general public.” Therefore, Boccato has developed a common law rights to the name.

Boccato’s trademark application for the name “Dutch Kills” is still pending, according to Boccato’s attorney David DeStefano. The lawsuit bans further use of the name by another party.

The suit seeks monetary damages for trademark infringement, unfair competition and deceptive ads and practices.
Since Dutch Kills is trying to gain exclusive legal rights to the name “Dutch Kills,” Stiller said “by claiming a common law trademark of the term Dutch Kills, Dutch Kills (the bar) is trying to gain the exclusive legal rights by forcing Dutch Kills Centraal to change its name.”

He went on to say that if Boccato is granted authority over the  name “Dutch Kills,” then he would legally be able to prohibit the existence of any hotel, deli, restaurant, bar, or bakery from using the name “Dutch Kills.”

A trademark application for the entire name “Dutch Kills Centraal” is also pending, but Stiller said Boccato “should not expect exclusive use of a descriptive neighborhood name.”

DeStefano declined to make a comment since the case in pending in court.

Calls made to Boccato were not returned in time for press.

Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@queenstribune.com, or @Tsakhuja13.