To avoid any confusion between Brooklyn deli sandwiches with high-end Swiss watches, Rolex has filed a trademark infringement suit against Rolex Deli in Fort Greene, N.Y. Shawqu Ali, who opened Rolex Deli four months ago, told The Huffington Post his reaction was "shock. I couldn't believe it. I didn't think something like that would happen."
The suit states the name Rolex Deli would “dilute the distinctiveness of the Rolex trademark.” Ali said he named his business Rolex Deli because he simply "liked the name," and claims Rolex now wants him to "change the name of the business -- signs, posters, neons. Everything I have has to be changed. I'm going to be more in debt. It's going to be very hard for me."
Rolex did not respond to a request for comment.
The suit came as a surprise to Ali, who believed everything was in the clear once he got the name approved with the State Division of Corporations. "I asked [advice from other business owners] before I did anything, got the name approved by the state and applied for a license, tax ID, before I put the sign up," he says.
Ali is consulting with a lawyer. In the meantime, having invested about $60,000 to open his dream business, he is now facing a business owner's nightmare. "I think it’s unfair," he says. "This [big] company goes [after] a little store that can't even be seen on the map. I don't know what to do. It's scary."