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N.J. pizzeria sued by global restaurant empire beloved by Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian



No one would ever confuse this Jersey pizza place for the high-end, opulent New York restaurants that share the same name.

It’s in a nondescript strip mall, next to a Chinese food joint and behind a 7-Eleven. It boasts a bargain special: two large pizzas for $25 on Mondays and Wednesdays.

It’s also probably safe to assume that the glitterati — the famous, wealthy, and beautiful people who frequent any of the luxury Cipriani hotels, bars and restaurants in New York, London, Venice and beyond — have never made it down to the Cipriani’s Pasta, Pizza and More on Highway 33 in Neptune.

Still, it was no joking matter to Cipriani, the global dining and hospitality empire, when it discovered it was sharing a name with the pizza parlor just off the Garden State Parkway, about 90 minutes south of its Manhattan signature restaurants.

They went to court.

In a federal lawsuit, Cipriani Group last week charged the New Jersey Cipriani restaurant with trademark infringement, unfair competition and anti-cybersquatting after also discovering that the owner of the Neptune pizzeria had also obtained a internet address.

“The Cipriani U.S. Locations regularly attract celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Gigi Hadid, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Sofia Vergara and Kim Petras among many others to movie premiere afterparties, celebrity fundraisers and other star-studded events. International businesspeople, movie, music and sports stars, super models, nobility, and other luminaries make it a point to patronize and be observed at Cipriani U.S. Locations,” the lawsuit noted. “Cipriani has gained significant common law trademark and other rights.”

The pizza spot in Neptune, it claimed, had infringed on those rights, using a name that confused consumers into believing that it was affiliated with Cipriani.

After sending several cease-and-desist letters, the matter is now in federal district court in New Jersey.

Attorneys for Cipriani in New York declined comment.

But Romeo Ortega, who opened his Cipriani’s in Monmouth County a little more than a year ago, doesn’t know what the big deal is. And he believes he shouldn’t have to change the name of his restaurant, because it’s not in New York.

“It’s a different state so it doesn’t have to do anything with New York. I talked to my lawyer and he said there’s nothing to do,” said Ortega, who claimed he named his place “after a boat in Italy” and not after the storied international restaurant chain that had its start when Giuseppe Cipriani opened the doors of Harry’s Bar in Venice’s historic Piazza San Marco in 1931.

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