The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA as it’s also known, sued the new Lower East Side cafe called MoMaCha last week. Museum filed a complaint on Tuesday, April 17, accusing MoMaCha of “infringing its famous trademarked name and trade dress that dates to at least 1967 and appears in exhibition communications, retail goods and its restaurant The Modern” according to Law 360. MoMA also claims that the cafe’s logo is too similar to its own.
The museum stated in its complaint: “They are blatantly attempting to take advantage of the MoMA marks, which are unquestionably famous within the modern and contemporary art space, to promote their newly launched art gallery and café business — perhaps even hoping for some free publicity when MoMA inevitably takes additional steps to stop this blatant infringement.”
In response to that, MoMaCha said that the cafe is essentially not a museum and doesn’t want to compete with MoMA, despite the fact of having an exhibition component at their matcha shop. A representative of MoMaCha told Law 360:
“Our platform is a hybrid: matcha bar, flexible exhibition space, and all around community that is organically connected to the arts in countless ways but never have we represented ourselves as having any affiliation to the MoMA, nor are we interested in upholding the responsibility of such. We’re not only working with artists, we’re activating our space with set designers, pastry chefs, schools and all around people who have a story.”
We went to the MoMaCha and took some pictures so you can judge for yourself who is right here.