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NFL SUES OVER USE OF LEAGUE MONIKER IN NFL PLAYERS GRILL
Published November 10, 1997
The NFL last week filed suit over the NFLPA and Millennium Entertainment's planned restaurant chain, the NFL Players Grill, "to challenge the use of the 'NFL' name by Millennium and Commonwealth Associates," a N.Y. investment bank seeking funding for the restaurants, according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. While the league "has never begrudged the union use of 'NFL' as part of its name," the restaurant "is the most conspicuous attempt by the union yet to use the trademark for commercial purposes." Also, the NFL "has been quietly shopping its own restaurant entertainment concept for more than a year." According to the complaint, a prospectus distributed by Commonwealth "included such claims as 'Millennium is the first and only restaurant company licensed to incorporate the NFL into a theme restaurant' and 'league events and promotions are to be scheduled,' at these restaurants, both dubious claims, since the enterprise was founded under a license from NFLPA." Sources tell Lefton that "in their haste to find backers, the would-be NFL restauranteurs apparently got overzealous, soliciting, among others, NFL owners for start-up funding" (BRANDWEEK, 11/10).