Upscale Italian restaurants have been opening around Dallas at a fast clip this year. Now Carbone’s, which has been serving the city Italian food since its opening in 2012, has filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement against Carbone Dallas, owned by Major Food Group, which opened at the end of March 2022.
According to a report by the Dallas Morning News, Carbone’s on Oak Lawn Avenue claims that the similar-sounding names of the two restaurants (Carbone Dallas is two miles away on Hi Line Drive in the Design District) is causing confusion for Dallasites attempting to make reservations.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges similarities between the restaurant logos and design. Carbone’s made note of an incident when an investor in their restaurant confused the Carbone sauces sold in grocery stores for their product, according to a report by WFAA. The claim alleges that the sauces from Major Food Group brands were displayed locally by Central Market with signs using the marks and logos of Carbone’s, including the story of the Barsotti family history.
Major Food Group, which has outposts in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, and Hong Kong, did not respond to a request for comment.
Carbone’s is named for Carbone’s Fine Foods and Liqueurs in Harrison, N.J., which was run by the grandfather of owner Julian Barsotti. It is still family-owned. Anattorney for Barsotti told the Dallas Morning News that they served Major Food Group a cease and desist letter before the new restaurant opened this spring. They also shared that they are likely to request a temporary restraining order against Major Food Group and Carbone Dallas to force them to change the name.
Carbone holds a two federal trademarks to its name, one registered and one pending, the DMN reports. Although, Dallas-based Carbone’s does not hold a trademark its name, the company cites Texas common-law ownership under the Texas Business and Commerce Code and notes that Dallas-based Carbone’s began its paperwork to establish a business entity prior to Carbone ever filing its trademarks. Likewise, the Carbone trademark was not registered until well after the Oak Lawn Avenue restaurant opened.
Carbone’s has kept a phone log of more than 1,400 customers who have called for reservations and information, all of whom have confused it for Carbone’s Dallas and deliveries that have gone wayward, according to NBC DFW.