NEW YORK (Reuters) - An owner of a wine and spirits store near the gates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday said he is changing the store’s name after the government accused him of infringing trademarks belonging to the Army.
The name of the Highland Falls, New York, store will change to “Good Nights” from “Black Nights” after a government lawsuit called the original name “confusingly similar” to the Black Knights nickname used since the 1940s by Army athletic teams.
Frank Carpentieri, the owner, said signage will soon reflect the new name, for which he has filed paperwork with a state regulator.
He also said he will stop displaying a flag bearing the West Point crest and other paraphernalia that the government said could be associated with the academy.
“I thought I would be honoring the military” with the Black Nights name, Carpentieri said in a phone interview.
He said he decided to change course after his lawyer warned that he might lose customers, and that “it’s going to cost you tons of money to fight.”
It was unclear how the changes will affect the lawsuit filed on Tuesday by the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in the Southern District of New York.
That lawsuit said the alleged infringements cause “irreparable injury” to the academy’s goodwill and reputation, and violate Army policies.
“The Department of the Army is highly concerned with the use of alcohol among its soldiers and is committed to deglamorizing its use,” the complaint said.
A spokeswoman for the military academy had no immediate comment.
The case is U.S. v. Frasiekenjes LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-05973.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler