Hemingway heirs file lawsuit over name of Greensboro bar

Monday, December 19th 2005, 2:02 pm
By: News On 6

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) _ Was the name of a swanky bar in downtown Greensboro inspired by a literary giant or a pet bulldog? It may take a court decision to settle the dispute.

The owner of Hemingway's Downtown says he named the 6-month-old business after the English bulldog he had as a boy.

Heirs of Ernest Hemingway, the author of ``The Old Man and the Sea'' and ``A Farewell to Arms,'' say that doesn't matter and have filed a lawsuit in U.S. Middle District Court claiming trademark infringement and unfair competition.

They want owner Jeff Schleuning to stop using a name for his bar they believe is synonymous with the famous author.

``Regardless of who the establishment was named after, it really would not matter,'' said John F. Morrow Jr., a Winston-Salem lawyer representing the plaintiffs. ``The question is whether there is consumer confusion over the source of the name.''

Schleuning said Friday he wasn't aware of the lawsuit. He noted that nothing about the bar evokes the author.

``We're actually the kind of bar he would despise coming to,'' Schleuning said. ``From what I know of him, he liked little dive-type bars.''

The bar debuted in June near a cluster of dance clubs and bars. It targets an older, upper-class clientele who pay a membership fee to sip specialty martinis and smoke cigars.

The plaintiffs claim they sent a letter in June asking Schleuning to stop using Hemingway's name.

According to the lawsuit, Hemingway Ltd. is a corporation owned by the author's heirs who own all trademark rights to his name, photograph, likeness, signature and persona.