Stealing the “limelight”? Dream Hotel Hollywood accused of name theft in lawsuit

Rendering of the Hollywood hotel, Jesse Strauss (top right) and Noah Tepperberg (bottom right)
Rendering of the Hollywood hotel, Jesse Strauss (top right) and Noah Tepperberg (bottom right)

What’s in a name? If you’re a nightclub, well, probably everything.

The former owner of notorious New York nightclub Limelight is suing the operators of the under-construction Dream Hotel in Hollywood, accusing them of trying steal the club’s name and capitalize on its infamy, the New York Post reported.

According to a complaint filed in the Los Angeles federal court by Limelight’s former owner, Peter Gatien, the boutique hotel chain plans to use “Limelight” for the nightclub at the yet-to-open Dream Hollywood.

Not so fast, says Gatien, whose lawsuit specifically targets the Dream Hotel as well as Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg, partners in the nightclub development company Tao Group.

“What Jason and Noah are doing is morally reprehensible,” Gaiten told the Post. “I have had the Limelight name since these men were in diapers. Their attempt to use my club’s success and name recognition will never be permitted to stand.”

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The Limelight, once located at 666 West 20th Street, was one of the most famous nightclubs in New York City. It opened in 1984 but was shut down by the city in 1996 because of drug use.

According to the Post, Gatien registered “Limelight” with the US Patent and Trademark office in 1991 and renewed it again in 2001.

It lost its trademark protection on December 1st, 2015 because Gatien failed to renew it. However, his lawyers argue that Gatien has always had plans to use “Limelight” and the name is still protected.

“The source of the right comes from its use,” Gatien’s lawyer Bill Carmody told the Post.

The 10-story hotel, on Selma near Cahuenga, will have 179 rooms and an 11,000-square-foot rooftop with a pool. Tao is also opening its chic New York restaurant/lounge Beauty & Essex at the hotel, which is being developed by Hollywood IRC. [NYP]Miriam Hall