A family feud over a pizza shop in Falmouth is continuing, with the latest round going to the parents fighting their eldest son over his use of the shop’s nickname.

A Cumberland County Superior Court judge has ruled that Foreside House of Pizza can’t use “FHOP” in connection with the pizzeria in the Falmouth Shopping Center.

George Sotiropolous had used the nickname since he took over the family restaurant in April. His parents, Antonia and Steve Sotiropolous, were evicted by the new owners of the Falmouth Shopping Center, where they had started the pizzeria more than 40 years ago.

But the owners of the shopping center struck a deal with George Sotiropolous, the couple’s eldest son, to take over the restaurant, which was renamed Foreside House of Pizza. George Sotiropolous continued to use FHOP prominently in promotions and it dominated the sign on the front of the restaurant.

That led his parents to court, where they sued over his use of FHOP in connection with the restaurant. Last week, Cumberland County Superior Court Justice Thomas D. Warren issued a temporary restraining order, ruling that “FHOP” is a trademark belonging to Antonia and Steve Sotiropolous and ordering that it be removed from the sign, menus, advertising and social media used by Foreside House of Pizza.

Warren said the evidence indicated that the elder Sotiropolouses had used FHOP on menus and menu board when they ran the restaurant and that customers used it as a nickname for the restaurant before the change in ownership. He also said that the couple planned to use it at another restaurant they hope to open in Falmouth, pending the rezoning of the site they have selected.

Even if the couple had not used FHOP extensively, Warren said, previous rulings indicate that the public’s use of the nickname for the restaurant operated by Antonia and Steve Sotiropolous “is alone sufficient to create trademark rights.” The couple had established a common law right to FHOP, his ruling said, and George Sotiropolous and his partners had “engaged in efforts to portray themselves as the continuation of the ‘FHOP’ business.”

The lawyer for Antonia and Steve Sotiropolous did not respond to a message seeking comment Friday.

In an emailed statement, George Sotiropolous said he will remove FHOP from the sign above his shop and said that he “formally offered to give” the trademark to his mother “months ago.”

“Unfortunately, rather than settle this peacefully and privately, my mom would prefer to litigate and continue to draw public attention to a very personal situation,” he said.

Another of the couple’s sons runs a restaurant in Freeport and a third runs a convenience store and take-out food shop in Falmouth.

Warren’s injunction will stay in effect until a full trial, which has yet to be scheduled.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.