England had its War of the Roses, and now New York City is having a war over the Roses.
Rose Associates, the nearly century-old family firm now in its third generation, is suing landlord Sky Management in federal court for naming its Upper East Side rental building Rose Modern, claiming the moniker infringes on the company’s trademark.
“By attaching the Rose name to its property, Sky Management and the Ohebshalom family are attempting to co-opt the brand we’ve spent many decades nurturing,” a spokesperson for Rose Associates wrote in an e-mail. “The confusion caused by Sky Management’s intentional action is troubling, and we are concerned that property owners, lenders, investment partners and renters will be misled into thinking the property is a Rose building when it is not.”
“In no way is my client’s use infringing on the plaintiff’s,” said Sky Management’s attorney, Ronald Israel of the firm Chiesa, Shahinian and Gianomasia. “To say they have complete rights is incorrect.”
Israel said there are many development companies and buildings with the name “Rose” in them, and submitted a list to the court with names like The Rose, a 40-unit rental building in Harlem and The Rosehill, a 43-unit condo building in Kips Bay.
Sky Management, run by brothers Ben and Jonathan Ohebshalom, completed the 20-story, 82-unit building last year and launched leasing this March. The Ohebshaloms come from a real estate family themselves, albeit a younger one.
Their uncle, Fred Ohebshalom, emigrated from Iran and bought real estate in the 1970s. His firm, Empire Management, controls a portfolio of more than 4,000 residential units and 1 million square feet of commercial space.
Meanwhile, the Rose family firm says it has trademarks on both “Rose” and “Rose Associates, Inc.,” the latter of which is for “real estate management services and consulting services to the real estate industry” and “leasing of real estate.”
The company claims that not only was Sky Management aware of the family company’s name and reputation, but actually met with Rose at one point before the building opened to discuss a possible management agreement.
Rose says that Sky Management either intended to cause confusion by picking the name, or was recklessly indifferent that it would cause confusion. Rose is suing in Manhattan’s Southern District court to prevent Sky from using the name “Rose” with any real estate services, and for triple the amount of profits Sky’s made using the “Rose Modern” name.