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Jun 17, 2016 4:59 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Rumba Files Trademark Infringement Complaint Against New Caribbean-Theme Restaurant In Hampton Bays

Karamba in Hampton Bays. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Jun 21, 2016 4:23 PM

A popular Caribbean-theme restaurant in Hampton Bays is demanding that the owners of a newer, similar eatery in the hamlet change its name, destroy all signs and marketing materials, and also pay undisclosed monetary damages and attorney fees for infringing on its trademark, according to a copy of the complaint filed last week.

David and Rachel Hersh, the owners of the Rumba Rum Bar on Canoe Place Road, have filed a complaint against the Marco Marisco Corp., a New York City-based firm that opened the Karamba Restaurant on West Montauk Highway this past winter. The complaint charges, among other things, that the Marco Marisco Corp., or MMC, purposely selected everything from its restaurant name, which sounds similar to “Rumba,” to its outdoor signs, in an attempt confuse potential customers into thinking they were visiting Rumba, which opened in 2009 and has successfully established itself as a popular destination.

“This is a trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false affiliation case arising from Defendant’s willful adoption and the use of the name ‘KARAMBA’ (pronounced ‘ka-RUMBA’) for its recently opened restaurant located in Hampton Bays, New York,” reads the complaint filed last Wednesday, June 15, in U.S. District Court by Rumba’s lawyer, Ralph N. Gaboury, an attorney with F. Chau and Associates LLC in Woodbury.

“Due to the similar pronunciation and overall visual appearance of Defendant’s use of ‘KARAMBA’ … MMC’s use is causing actual confusion with respect to customers and potential customers of Plaintiff [Rumba Rum Bar] which is also located in Hampton Bays, New York, and is likely going to continue causing confusion unless MMC is enjoined from continued use of the Infringing Mark.”

In addition to boasting a similar name, the complaint notes that Karamba—a tropical food restaurant that opened in March—is selling the same food, features similar decor, and uses a similar logo featuring palm trees. Prior to receiving the complaint, the Karamba logo was altered and now features a parrot instead of palm trees. The original logo, however, featured a palm tree whose base was the “b” in Karamba.

Mr. Gaboury did not return multiple calls or emails seeking comment on the case.

An employee answering the phone at Rumba’s on Tuesday said the Hershes were not at the restaurant that day and advised a reporter to instead email the owners. The email was not immediately returned.

A woman who answered the phone at Karamba on Friday provided a reporter with the cellphone number of one of the restaurant’s owners. The man—who would only identify himself as Marc—said he was unaware of the complaint filed by the Hershes.

“I haven’t been served any papers,” he said.

In mid-March, shortly before the new restaurant opened, a Rumba representative delivered a letter to Karamba that explained its concerns about the similar name and logos—demanding that the company address all of the issues before opening. According to the complaint, Mr. Hersh said he spoke with an employee of Karamba, possibly a coowner, on February 28, 2016, and that individual, named “Sam,” disclosed that several other owners of the new restaurant “had visited Rumba three days prior, ‘to perform R&D [research and development]’ on the restaurant,” a stop that also examined Rumba’s “style and decor,” the complaint states.

When reached Friday, Marc said he last spoke to Rumba officials in March before declining to answer any additional questions.

The complaint notes that the owners of Karamba—only listed as Marco Marisco Corp.—refused to change their restaurant name, though they did agree to alter their business brand. While the updated logo now features a parrot, the complaint says the new design is still too similar to Rumba’s.

Those issues, the complaints states, are “causing irreparable harm to [Rumba’s] goodwill and reputation … ”

In addition to forcing Karamba to alter its name and shut down its website, Rumba is demanding compensation in the form of three times its actual monetary damages—an exact dollar amount was not listed—and “the profits wrongfully obtained” by Karamba as eventually decided by the courts. Rumba is also seeking the reimbursement of its attorney fees.

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At least Karamba doesn' t have parking issues or sewage problems!!!
By sgt202 (75), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 6:15 PM
3 members liked this comment
By alhavel (50), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 6:48 PM
Well, well, well~
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Jun 17, 16 7:04 PM
REALLY Rumba? Concentrate on your food, service, and brand and you have nothing to worry about. I actually noticed this restaurant in the early spring and never even thought of yours.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jun 17, 16 8:00 PM
3 members liked this comment
Dirty pool if ever there was. How about a Rhumba boycott, people?
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Jun 17, 16 8:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
I have been and will continue to boycott this restaurant and their other one since they opened and started polluting the bay! I prefer to frequent restaurants with socially responsible owners. I am not surprised at their actions. Ridiculous! We are a waterfront community with carribean-like summers. I hope more restaurants like this open!
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Jun 18, 16 11:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
Rumba is been RIDICULOUS…I guess some greedy [people trying make some extra money :(
By Mate (55), Southampton on Jun 17, 16 9:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
Did the NY State Liquor Authority close down Charlie Brown's?
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jun 17, 16 10:47 PM
Hay karamaba!!!
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Jun 17, 16 10:55 PM
Ricky Ricardo, played by Desi Arnaz, would exclaim ¡Ay Karamba, Lucy! at the antics of Lucille Ball in the 1950s television sitcom I Love Lucy.

The fictional character Bart Simpson from the American animated sitcom The Simpsons (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) used the phrase "¡Ay, Karamba!" (pronounced with an American accent) when surprised. It became one of his most notable catchphrases, further popularizing the phrase in modern pop culture. For example, in the episode "Selma's ...more
By whatapity (106), Tuckahoe on Jun 18, 16 12:10 AM
I'm opening a new place in HB and calling it FishCow. Want to be an investor?
By whatapity (106), Tuckahoe on Jun 18, 16 12:11 AM
2 members liked this comment
The Hersh's would be much better served to focus on their own business rather than looking for problems that don't exist. I ate at Rumba three weeks ago and the service and food quality has deteriorated drastically from the last time i was there just over a year ago.
Jun 18, 16 12:11 AM appended by VOS
FWIW- I've also been to Karamba twice, once for takeout, once to dine in and they are not taking business away from anyone. Until they improve their service and food and treat all their customers as assets regardless of the language they speak they are destined to become the next failed business at that location.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jun 18, 16 12:11 AM
2 members liked this comment
Hey Vos, I am sorry to hear you had a disappointing experience at Rumba, last time you were here. Please give me a call at 516-491-2109. I would like to make it up to you and show you what we are really about, Great food and service. DMH
By DMH (1), hampton bays on Jun 18, 16 8:50 PM
Ka-RUMBA?...Only a gringo without any knowledge of Spanish and Brazilian/Portuguese languages would pronounce it that way and of course someone wanting to distort the pronunciation to fit its ridiculous lawsuit. Its pronounced "ka-RAMBA".
Last time I was at Rumba years back, the tropical theme that it conjured to me, other that Taki Tiki, was more Polynesian/Hawaiian and Pacific rather than Latin or Caribean which I presume is the theme for Karamba (I have not been there).
Since when ...more
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Jun 18, 16 1:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
That restaurant has always been trying to reinvent itself . I cant remember how many different names its had. I dont see the infringement and given the places history, next year it could be a McDonalds.....Rumbs ambiance is just so hard to beat.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Jun 18, 16 5:55 AM
Rumba is a Afro Cuban dance…CARAMBA (right spelling in Spanish) is an expression …like "Oh Sh.." Caramba could be use in countries like Chile, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay…or Cuba, Dominica Republic, Puerto Rico etc it does not belong to one country…I hear KARAMBA (CARAMBA) has a very Affordable Argentinian Stake …I don't know of ANY other restaurant that serve this dish…We can't reward GREEDY people…it is very hard for a business to survive between September ...more
By Mate (55), Southampton on Jun 18, 16 9:19 AM
You should not have used that name and now you can argue it in front of a judge.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Jun 19, 16 7:24 AM
1 member liked this comment
Rumba's prices are ridiculous, the food is good but seriously??
live and let live... people will go wherever they want to go..
By Southampton10 (2), southampton on Jun 18, 16 10:13 AM
FishCow sounds like a great idea. Im serious.
By dave h (193), calverton on Jun 18, 16 3:05 PM
Rumba's has the location, the other one looks like something out a strip mall, I wouldn't worry.
It did seem like a cheesy rip off to me when I first saw the plastic sign and palm tree.
By jams (129), hampton bays on Jun 18, 16 10:30 PM
"Don't worry, be happy" -Bobby McFerrin������
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Jun 18, 16 11:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
The previous place Squiretown Cafe was a fine local place that I think suffered more from the economic downturn in 2008- 10 (when they opened) than their food or service. Having dined at Karumba well after they opened, we found it was horrible. Menu was from all over the world, but none of was good. No focus. Every other local we know who has visited share the same opinion. We can't wait until Karumba closes and hope a decent restaurant takes its' place. We dine and shop locally so we crave a ...more
By kjmraven (19), East Quogue on Jun 19, 16 12:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
I went to Karumba to support a "local" business. I thought it was related to the Deli in the Shopping Center across the Street. I am surprised to see that it is owned by a NYC-based investment firm. I am not sure how I feel about that. When I first saw it opening, I did think it was related to Rumba's. I guess the courts will figure it all out.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jun 19, 16 9:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
How was the food?
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Jun 21, 16 5:46 PM
I agree with Rumba on this one!!!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Jun 19, 16 9:37 AM
I just heard that McDonald's is suing the Southampton Publick House because they have a hamburger and french fries on the menu.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Jun 19, 16 12:12 PM
3 members liked this comment
Good luck with that one Rhumba!! Obviously your just trying to piss them off and scare them away. Don't think you'll succeed; went there for dinner and drinks and let me tell you they are in a league way way way above you. Perhaps you should spend your time encouraging any restaurant that comes to a town that has been on a constant decline to succeed? Business brings business not cutting down anyone who lays it down to share in a towns success. The more the merrier...learn to share the east end ...more
By Rhoffm01 (3), Riverhead on Jun 20, 16 9:24 AM
Good luck with that one Rhumba!! Obviously your just trying to piss them off and scare them away. Don't think you'll succeed; went there for dinner and drinks and let me tell you they are in a league way way way above you. Perhaps you should spend your time encouraging any restaurant that comes to a town that has been on a constant decline to succeed? Business brings business not cutting down anyone who lays it down to share in a towns success. The more the merrier...learn to share the east end ...more
By Rhoffm01 (3), Riverhead on Jun 20, 16 9:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
Rhumba and Karamba sound alike? Not if you are Cuban. Just because they share hast 3 letters does not make that so. Otherwise the word "orange" would have more rhyming words. As for menu, if similar foods on menu indicated a copyright infringement, Hampton Bays would have only one pizzeria, one Chinese take-out joint, one deli, etc. Heck, there's a point in town where I can see a half dozen banks. When they built the last one, were they infringing on rights of others? No, they were just stupid. ...more
By Southampton Patrick (13), Southampton on Jun 20, 16 1:56 PM
imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 21, 16 5:39 AM
Karamba sent staff to Rumba on an R&D mission - sorry, no matter what you like or don't like about Rumba - that's shady as heck. My vote goes to Rumba on this one. Best of luck in court - let's send these jerks back to the city where they belong.
By Liber728 (9), Hampton Bays on Jun 21, 16 4:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
How about sending the jerks back down south the owners or Rumba. Ruined our bays while knowing it and did nothing about it for years. Shut Rumba down. Like I heard someone say did the Villa Paul didn't sue Villa Tuscano for using a trademark name. No its called be an adult you cry babies at rumba. Hope you lose business for your immature ways.
By islander6615 (133), hampton bays on Jun 26, 16 12:25 PM
2 members liked this comment
This article will certainly put Karamba on the map. Lots of people are going to try it now so they can compare. Is Rhumba who's sister restaurant did 1 million in revenue last August alone going to charge them for advertising as well?
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Jun 21, 16 5:52 PM
Rumba owners should worry about their drivers who drive that stupid bus.
By jjinhb (16), Hampton Bays on Jun 22, 16 4:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jun 25, 16 10:48 AM
As a huge Rumba fan, the first thing I thought when I saw the newest business to occupy the "Squiretown" was, "Some one is looking to cash in on the Hersch's success"...
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 7:25 AM
I dun thin so Lucy.
By sgt202 (75), Hampton Bays on Jun 25, 16 11:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
Wow another Spanish restaurant! Just what we need!
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on Jun 25, 16 6:11 PM
Ate there Friday night - excellent food and service! Since when is a quesadilla carribean fare!
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Jun 26, 16 12:14 PM
hb ambulance just going to Rumba as we speak for a drug overdose in the bathroom. guess all the HB places are subject to the "summer" guests not just CB and boardy barn. we must stop this drugging!!! and drinking!!!
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 26, 16 5:53 PM
By lizziebay (7), BH on Jun 29, 16 6:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
Xtiego, The gentleman at Rumba was having chest pains upon arrival and we sat him down, got him water and called for help. He didn't appear to be on drugs and was an older gentlemen.
By Big D (2), hampton bays on Jun 30, 16 11:59 AM
I don't think Rumba is going to win this one, but I have to agree with them. There is no way that the name of the new place was chosen by accident, particularly with a similar themed menu. As for the Rumba haters, while it's not exactly my dish (pun intended) it and Cowfish are fine restaurants with a nice environment and are helping the community and improving Hampton Bays image. For years HB was a community considered good for nothing but "workforce housing," now people come from all those ...more
By nyc511 (15), Southampton on Jun 30, 16 1:59 PM