Brooklyn’s Lucali pizzeria caught in trademark legal battleApril 10, 2021
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His pizza is popular, but the owner of Brooklyn’s famed Lucali pizzeria is mired in another battle with someone close to him.
Mark Iacono, who launched the restaurant in 2006, was once knifed by an associate in a dispute over a woman — and now claims his own cousin is metaphorically stabbing him in the back.
Iacono says he was in the process of trademarking the Lucali name in April 2011 when the effort had to be mothballed while he “was recovering from injuries” suffered during the stabbing, according to court papers.
The cousin, Dominic Cavagnuolo, offered to step in and help but allegedly listed a company he controlled as the owner of the Lucali name, instead of Iacono, the pizza chef charges in a lawsuit.
Iacono says he created the name Lucali, which is a combination of Louie’s Candy Store, which originally occupied the pizzeria’s Carroll Gardens space, and his daughter Kallie’s name. It has been consistently listed among the best slices in Brooklyn.
The exclusive eatery doesn’t take reservations, and has drawn big names like Paul McCartney.
Cavagnuolo was among the investors who helped Iacono open Lucali Miami in 2013. Two years later, when further expansion plans were being developed, Iacono asked his relative to resolve the trademark issue and officially put Iacono on the trademark paperwork, according to the lawsuit.
The relative initially agreed, but a lawyer’s paperwork error left Cavagnuolo on the trademark application — and the cousin allegedly refuses to fix it, insisting he is the rightful owner of the Lucali name, Iacono charges in his Brooklyn Federal Court claim.
Iacono’s slice of the story is a bit undercooked, claims Cavagnuolo’s attorney — who noted Iacono has twice sued his cousin in Florida courts, and lost.
“Two judges and an appellate court found Dominic didn’t steal anything,” lawyer Anthony Accetta told The Post.
The pair signed a business agreement giving each of them rights to the name, said Accetta, who claims Iacono tried to oust Cavagnuolo from the eatery without warning and once accused his cousin of stealing pots, pans and a mini fridge.
Iacono wants the court to declare him the sole owner of the trademark, along with unspecified damages.
The 2011 stabbing made headlines when Iacono refused to talk to authorities about the attack. Benny Geritano, an ex-con and reputed Gambino associate, ultimately dodged charges in the case. At the time Iacono was also linked to the mob, having hired Dominick “Black Dom” Dionisio at Lucali until the Columbo associate pleaded guilty to robbing a yeshiva of $50,000.
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