New York restaurant owner Wolfgang Zwiener won the first round in a battle with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck on Friday, but the trademark dispute between the dueling restaurateurs isn't over.
In a written order, a Los Angeles federal judge denied Puck's request for a preliminary injunction, which would have prevented Zwiener from calling his newly-opened Beverly Hills restaurant "Wolfgang's Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener."
Los Angeles judge Gary Feess found that a 2007 settlement agreement between the pair shows that Puck agreed to let Zwiener use the name "Wolfgang" for his restaurants.
In May, Puck filed a trademark lawsuit against Zwiener, claming the name of his steakhouse confuses customers and makes them mistakenly think Zwiener's restaurant, which sits blocks from Puck's Spago and CUT Steakhouse, is a restaurant owned by Puck.
But the judge's order is only the beginning in the pair's dispute. Zwiener filed a counter lawsuit on June 3, claiming Puck breached the 2007 settlement by taking legal action and caused him to incur damages as a result of the lawsuit.
According to court documents, Zwiener claims Puck agreed to let him use the name "Wolfgang's Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener," and a sign design similar to sign currently outside of the Beverly Hills steakhouse.
The agreement also required that Puck and Zwiener work together to prevent any consumer confusion that could occur with Zwiener using the name Wolfgang for his restaurants.
In his countersuit, Zwiener claims Puck did not try to solve the problems he had with Zwiener's Beverly Hills steakhouse, and simply filed a lawsuit violating that portion of the agreement.
Puck's lawyers filed a response to Zwiener's countersuit on Monday, claiming Zwiener did not try to eliminate any confusion that could occur over the name of his Beverly Hills restaurant, and that the original agreement should be rescinded because Puck was fraudulently induced to sign it.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.