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Eataly Threatens Food Truck Over the Name 'Little Eataly'

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Photos: Little Eataly/Facebook / Daniel Krieger
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

An Indianapolis food truck called Little Eataly may be forced to change its name to settle a trademark dispute brought by Joe Bastianich and Mario's Batali's Eataly. In a Facebook post (the same post is also on the official website), Little Eataly owners Chea and Rob Carmack explain that they were "blindsided" last August by a cease and desist letter from Eataly's attorneys "stating we were infringing on their trademark and we constituted unfair competition in the marketplace."

Eataly currently has locations in New York City and Chicago, and is rumored to be heading to DC. There have been no reports of an Eataly expansion to Indianapolis. The Carmacks write: "We operate a little purple truck in Indianapolis. There is simply no competition that exists."

Per the Little Eataly statement, Eataly has demanded that the food truck stop operations under their current name. It gets worse: "They have now threatened to take our beloved purple truck, all of our assets and demand we turn over our domain at no cost to them claiming we, get this, are cybersquatting." The Indy Star clarifies that Eataly legal counsel is threatening to have the food truck "impounded" and to have the Carmack's assets seized.

A quick search through the United States Patent and Trademark Office database reveals the only trademarks containing the word Eataly belong to the chain's Italian parent company. One particularly relevant trademark doesn't mention food trucks specifically, but does cover "table cloth restaurants; fast food restaurants; bar services; bar lounge services; wine bar services; cafes; cafeterias; bar services; food court restaurant services." This trademark was granted in 2006. Little Eataly was founded in 2011.

While their legal counsel believes they have a winnable case, the Carmacks tell the Indy Star in the video below that simply do not have the resources to fight a lengthy legal battle against Eataly. For now, it seems, the Carmacks may well have to meet Eataly's demands to change the name of their truck and give up the domain at their own expense. Go, watch the video and read the full statement below:

Video: Mario Batali's Empire Wants to Strip Name from Little Eataly Food Truck

· Little Eataly [Facebook]
· Batali's Empire Wants to Strip Name from Little Eataly Food Truck [Indy Star]