New York’s Metropolitan Opera filed a trademark infringement suit Tuesday against a jazz group known as the Metropolitan Bopera House. The Manhattan Federal Court filing, which said the opera has been using the same name since 1883, claimed the name of the jazz group, which has played in a number of New York clubs, is likely to cause “confusion.” The suit charges the defendants with “purloining” the Met’s name and trading upon its “world-famous reputation and prestige.” The Met is seeking an order barring the jazz group from continuing to use the name and wants the group’s records recalled, along with payment of unspecified damages. Defendant Richard Hammer, who plays piano with the group, dismissed the suit as “pretty silly,” explaining the group’s name came from a 1940s New York jazz club. “It never dawned on us that there could be any confusion,” Hammer said, adding that no one had ever come to see the group in the expectation of hearing Beverly Sills.
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