Real-Life Copycat Lesson #17: Famous New York City Museum and Tea Shop and Clash Over Similar Name

02 October, 2019

New York’s Museum of Modern Art, popularly referred to as the “MoMA,” raised a trademark infringement lawsuit against a Lower East Side tea shop and art gallery called Momacha. In the lawsuit, New York’s Museum of Modern Art accuses the tea shop-gallery combo of infringing on the museum’s trademark name and logo. The museum as referred to itself as MoMA for nearly 50 years and developed its current logo, in a custom “MoMA gothic” font, in 2003. The tea shop opened in April of 2018 and its logo used a similar font and vertical print with an orientation that closely mirrors the museum’s MoMA banner. Customers repeatedly expressed confusion about the relationship between the organizations, including an email inquiring as to whether the similar logos meant the two businesses were affiliated, and a social media post taken at Momacha accompanied by the caption “when a museum makes Machas.”