$50 Million Licensing Dispute Over Iconic Palm Restaurant
HNRK tried a precedent-setting trademark licensing suit involving royalties to be paid for the famous Palm restaurant intellectual property. The origins of the dispute go back decades in the colorful history of the Palm restaurant, the original Manhattan location of which was opened in 1926 by a pair of Italian immigrants. Two of their grandsons, defendants Walter Ganzi Jr. and Bruce Bozzi, hold an 80 percent stake in the company that owns the Palm name, with their cousins, the plaintiffs, owning the 20 percent balance. The two defendants opened over 20 additional Palm restaurants using wholly-owned companies and licensed the rights to use the Palm name, logo, and other intellectual property to themselves at a flat rate per restaurant regardless of sales. HNRK challenged the flat fee royalty rate, set over 40 years ago, for the Palm Restaurant intellectual property — its trademarks, world-famous name, look and feel, and related attributes — as substantially below market and as calculated in an unusual and inappropriate manner for famous trademarks.