The Camellia Grill fight is getting really ugly, y'all, with Richard A. Webster now reporting on a possible impending and mandatory amputation of the buidling's famous columns. Sounds like the trademark monster is hungry for some long smooth legs. Current owner Hicham Khodr and his Grill Holdings LLC have already lost the right to use the name Camellia Grill to the former owner, Michael Schwartz, but now he may have to remodel the restaurant's facade too, so no white columns/pink neon signage resemble the historic diner. All of this because Khodr violated a licensing agreement by changing the logo from a square to a circle and supposedly not paying $197 in royalties to Schwartz back in 2009.
Now Khodr owes about $200k in attorney fees, and will have to change his employees uniforms and choose a new name he won't also get sued over, while he attempts to appeal the court ruling. Per the Times-Pic, Michael Schwartz already has other plans for his federally trademarked logo:
Schwartz intends to re-license the Camellia Grill trademark to another operator and open a new restaurant in New Orleans as soon as the dispute with Khodr is settled... He also plans to sue Khodr for all the profits he made since June 1, 2011, the date the courts determined the licensing agreement was officially terminated.
Oddly enough, the S. Carrollton building that has housed Camellia Grill since the 1940s is not actually registered as a historical landmark, so it could easily be renovated, if that's what you call it. But the chances of a neo-Camellia Grill opening in a new location with another new owner probably won't bode well for business, especially since Schwartz didn't return after Katrina to re-open the grill that his attorney says "he spent years building the reputation of." The diner didn't actually reopen until Khodr purchased it in 2007, after being closed for almost 2 years.
According to the TP, Khodr claims "Schwartz essentially agreed to the logo change by accepting royalty checks for merchandise emblazoned with the altered mark for more than four years, including a check for $75,000 in 2009." Khodr also tells the TP that it's ridiculous to think he'd put a business in which he invested millions at risk for such a small amount of money.
UPDATE 5/13: The former owner of Camellia Grill is Michael Schwartz. Eater previously reported his name was Mark Scwhartz.
· Court Rules Camellia Grill Must Change its Name, but the Restaurant's Owner Vows to Appeal [NOLA.com]
· All Camellia Grill Coverage [-ENOLA-]