With friends like these who needs enemies? That appears to be the feeling for the owner of the Gryphon nightclub, located at the Seminole Hardrock Hotel & Casino, Michael Ault. He tells me that longtime friend and New York City club owner Adam Hoch swiped his club name's and concept, choosing to use a slightly different variation in spelling -- Griffin. Here at the Juice, we have the inside scoop into what the NY Post is calling a birdbrained club battle...
I hadn't yet heard back from Ault last week, when I expressed some disbelief at the cease and desist order Ault sent to the NYC hot spot. After all, it's located more than 1,000 miles away. In the order, Ault demands that the name of the club, which opened earlier this year, be changed or litigation will ensue. How can the NYC club be hurting Ault's business? After the jump, we'll hear what Ault has to say.
Ault tells me that he has a federal trademark on the Gryphon brand. Hoch -- the NYC clubowner -- was on the Gryphon mailing list as Ault's former partner. And Ault believes that's how Hoch gained an appreciation for the Gryphon concept.
Hoch's club was previously called PM until this past March when he reopened as Griffin. According to Ault, Hoch's associates and employees flooded Ault's inbox with astonished emails about the name heist.
So what are the damages, you ask? There's an element of confusion here. Ault's Hard Rock Gryphon, says Ault, gets alot of Griffin NYC patrons who think the two hot spots are owned by the same establishment.
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There's also the issue of blocked markets.
"I've owned and operated more than 20 clubs in NYC," says Ault, a native of New York City. "I may want to open a Gryphon nightclub in the city and can't now because of Hoch's Griffin."
As far as the cease and desist order goes, Ault and his team of top-notch lawyers haven't heard anything from the Griffin side of things.
"We haven't set a time frame for the name change," Ault says. "This whole issue was a serious lapse of judgment on Hoch's end."