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High-end retailer Tiffany & Co. is embroiled in a legal dispute with a former NFL lineman and his business partners, who are running a New Jersey chain of restaurants using the same name. New York-based Tiffany & Co. filed a lawsuit in federal court in Newark, N.J., in October claiming that Tony Siragusa’s restaurant chain, Tiffany’s, infringes on the high-end jeweler’s trademark. The complaint says that Siragusa and his partners are seeking to create a restaurant empire using Tiffany & Co.’s more than 150-year-old trademark and its association with fine diamonds, jewelry, watches and other luxury gifts. Siragusa — a retired Baltimore Ravens nose tackle and FOX-TV football commentator — says he’ll stick with the Tiffany’s name because his four rib joints in New Jersey would never be confused with a store chain known for its delicate products. “Tiffany jewelry is well known, and it’s not like you’re going to drive by our restaurant, think it’s owned by Tiffany jewelers, and say this is where I’m going to buy a watch,” Siragusa told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday’s newspapers. The first restaurant opened 25 years ago in Union and went by the name Tiffany Gardens, later shortened to Tiffany’s for “simplicity,” said Gregory S. Gewirtz, a Westfield lawyer representing Siragusa and his partners. Three other restaurants have opened over the past decade, and the owners have applied for a franchise trademark for “Tiffany’s Restaurants.” A New Jersey native known for having his oversized girth and oversized personality, Siragusa was a member of the Ravens team that trounced the New York Giants in the 2001 Super Bowl. He says he shops at Tiffany & Co. The company even made a Super Bowl trophy that he showed off during a parade in Kenilworth, where he grew up. Siragusa says he won’t let the store chain push him around. “This is a case of the big guy going after the little guy, but they didn’t know the guy standing behind the door was me, and I ain’t so little,” said Siragusa, who is 6-foot-3 and weighs more than 350 pounds. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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