A Tale of Two Boutique Eat Shops

No divorce is pretty, and some are less unpretty than others. The split over control of Far Western Manhattan establishment Boutique Eat Shop, or B.E.S., seems destined to get downright ugly. Venom behind the scenes has reached the lawyeristic level, and remaining management and the departing discontented both claim they each are the rightful owner of the B.E.S. name and logo.

B.E.S. has a history of trouble, dating from its life as Opus 22 and then Mr. West, and it would be easy to blame the location (most do when speaking ill of the joint). More recently, showrunner Patrick Duffy has exited the business in a cloud of ill will, much to the apparent relief of remaining boss Edward Lee.

Thinking ahead, Duffy filed a trademark claim on the B.E.S. name and sigil back in November 2010. After the breakup, his lawyer informed his ex-colleagues that they had until May 31 to cease using the name and mark on the current B.E.S. business; they have declined. Lee and his partners plan to contest the trademark filing, claiming the B.E.S. name and marks are their property. While they have yet to offer documentation to support their counter-claim, they characterize Duffy’s trademark filing as “fraudulent.”

For his part, Duffy has already moved on, taking a new job as creative director at Albert Trummer’s Theater Bar. When asked if he planned to open up his own version of B.E.S., he responded cagily, “I believe that I own the mark and that I am proceeding accordingly. I will act lawfully in all circumstances.”

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