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A few weeks ago I posted about an e-mail I had received from Yung Park, owner of the (no longer standing) Little Red Building at 2nd and L streets, SE, about his plans to switch from running a liquor store on that site to a coffeehouse, which he said would be named Aroma Espresso Bar. One of the entry's commenters noted that a chain with that name already existed, and I replied in the comments that Mr. Park had told me it was not going to be a chain: "(so I wonder if the name is going to be problematic)".
This afternoon I received a very nice e-mail from the law firm of Baker Botts LLP, informing me that their client, Shefa, owns the federal trademark for "AROMA ESPRESSO BAR" and operates a franchise system under that trademark. Further, "Mr. Park’s establishment is not one of Shefa’s franchises, and we have communicated with Mr. Park, asking that he refrain from using our client’s trademark." They also asked that I refrain from using that name in any future blog entries about the LRB.
Hopefully soon we'll hear from Mr. Park about a new name. UPDATE: Or, judging by the vast reach of the current AROMA ESPRESSO BAR (as noted by Paul in the comments), maybe not. I would also note that the wording in the e-mail from the law firm was "asking", which doesn't exactly sound like a legal demand.
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Paul says: (11/29/10 7:03 PM)
When I googled Aroma Espresso Bar all I found was a NYC business with 3 locations and an under construction website. That seems like a pretty low bar for having your business name trademarked/protected/whatever on a national level. Maybe on a local level but national? Afterall this isn't even a unique name just 3 common words about coffee products pushed together.

Of course I am but a simple caveman and the world of law frightens and confuses me.


Ed says: (11/29/10 7:37 PM)
Yeah, what Paul said. I mean, really. What exactly are the lawyers protecting other than their retainer??


Paul says: (11/29/10 11:01 PM)
Hmmmm. the Aroma website gave me an under construction-esque page earlier this afternoon. But now it does look like a fully functioning professional webpage. Still, this franchise has fewer locations than I have fingers on my right hand. I admittedly don't know the law - but to me it doesn't make sense how that qualifies for exclusivity on the name nationally.

Then again I never understood how Pat Riley was able to trademark the term 3-peat as if it were intellectual capital.


Michae says: (11/29/10 11:34 PM)
Refrain from reporting the "controversy" about the name? Preposterous!


khan says: (11/30/10 10:53 AM)
May be Aroma Espresso Bar have plans to expand their business nationally. It is a very smart idea to trademark their business and protect their business repetition.
I don't think Mr. Yung Park have any idea in what exactly he wants to do with the place.
I think he needs to change his mind again and go with other business ideas. Perhaps, a dive bar or ethnic restaurant.


F says: (11/30/10 11:10 AM)
The coffee bar idea is still an excellent one. Mr. Parks should maybe consider another name. Perhaps JD Land'ers can provide some suggestions.



Ed says: (11/30/10 11:49 AM)
Why not use LRB or some variety therein? Little Red Coffee Bar? Preposterous Coffee? (PC, get it?) LRB Coffee?


JT says: (11/30/10 11:50 AM)
Call it "The Poop Deck."

It alludes to both our neighborhood's illustrious Naval history and the fact that the caffeine in coffee can stimulate a motor response of the distal colon.


Ben says: (11/30/10 11:50 AM)
I wonder if Baker Botts Espresso Bar is taken.


Adam says: (11/30/10 12:13 PM)
My question is how does this affect construction/opening? I haven't been by the site in the past few weeks so I don't know how the progress is going.

I have, however, noticed significant progress where Harry's is going in. They have shelving and countertops installed, hopefully they can be open by the end of the year!


F says: (11/30/10 2:27 PM)
I like "Little Red Coffee Shop" and "LRB Coffee." I thought the "Poop Deck" was referring to the dog park across the street:-)


JD says: (11/30/10 3:04 PM)
I'll just want a teeny kickback for having come up with "LRB" way back when. :-)


JoeNdc says: (11/30/10 3:52 PM)
I nominate: The Park
Espresso Bar & Cafe

It incorporates that fact that the establishment is across the street from the soon to be built Canal Park and it also uses the owners last name.


BillP says: (12/1/10 11:07 AM)
CPC - Canal Park Coffee

covers the location AND the owner's name. he'd better act fast as i'll be filing for trademark and copyright protection today. (just kidding)

of course, this won't work if mayor gray diverts the already-promised funding for canal park toward his cadre of new social programs (not directly, of course, the programs will greatly increase the total budget so he can justify diverting money for "deficit reduction" purposes). i miss fenty already.


F says: (12/1/10 12:54 PM)
Some quick ideas:

Park Side Cafe
Canal Park Espresso Bar



chuck says: (12/2/10 3:27 PM)
LRB Coffee Shop, or more simply LRB Coffee, or alternatively Little Red Building Coffee Shop all are excellent choices: they help to retain the memory of the previous building and would be a good jumping off point for a "then and now"-themed decor. (pictures on walls, factoids on placemats, etc) I imagine there's _somebody_ out there who has a few pictures and bits of info of what the neighborhood looked like, when the little red building still existed.


Adam says: (12/6/10 10:54 AM)
Surprise, surprise...drove past the LRB construction site this weekend and it looks like zero progress has been made in the past few months. It's still a giant hole with a foundation, as it was about a week after the building came down.

I understand delays, but I'm starting to wonder what is going on with this location and site. I'm guessing that I'm not the only one frustrated with the lack of progress going on here.

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