The pastrami hit the fan in a Manhattan courtroom this week, when Katz’s Deli slapped another food business with a $1 million lawsuit for copyright infringement. The lawsuit alleges that the Katz & Dogz food trucks and cart blatantly tries to “appropriate [Katz’s] business goodwill, name and mark,” resulting in Katz’s “being associated with food products and restaurant services over which [it] has no control.”
“It has taken over a century of dedication, hard work and consistent customer satisfaction for Katz’s Deli to become famous,” says the lawsuit, as it outlines several instances in the media and online where the two unaffiliated food companies have been confused.
According to the filing, Katz & Dogz is owned and operated by Brooklyn-based TMA Trading Inc; the principles are identified as “Tarek” and Mohamed Salem, who formerly owned and operated Adelman’s kosher deli in Brooklyn, until it closed last year. They then opened the two food trucks and one cart, which serve a traditional Jewish deli menu including pastrami, corned beef, and knishes.
Katz’s claims that Tarek said the name was intended as a “tribute,” and that Tarek declined an offer of thousands of dollars change the name.
The lawsuit also specifically notes that Katz’s is famous for the scene in the film “When Harry Met Sally” where Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in the restaurant; and that Katz & Dogz prominently advertises their sandwich called the “Reuben Orgasm.”
Reuters reports that in a phone interview, Tarek said the people at Katz’s were “pushy” and “not polite,” but declined to comment on the legal action.