September 26, 2014 11:15 pm
Updated: September 27, 2014 1:39 am

Vancouver restuaranteur being sued by Bellagio of Las Vegas


A David versus Goliath battle is brewing between a Vancouver restaurateur  and a Las Vegas powerhouse.

Emil Malak owns Vancouver’s two Bellaggio cafes and if you’ve ever been to Las Vegas, you know that name is a familiar one on the strip.

The hotel and casino has served him with a cease and desist order.

He says he won’t, and this is not the first time the owner of the café has taken on a much bigger opponent.

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Lawyers for the other Bellagio Hotel and Casino, which is spelt with only one “g,” write that their clients have spent a fortune branding the name Bellagio worldwide.

Even though its primarily a casino, it also has restaurants and cafes. A check into trademark rights in Canada shows no ‘Bellagio’ until a filing just last year.

You might remember the blockbuster movie ‘Avatar’ and when Malak sued Hollywood, claiming they stole many details from his book “Terra Incongnita.”

That case went on for four years with an out-of-court settlement last spring.

Now he believes this latest legal action has some Hollywood connections.

Paragon Gaming is Las Vegas-based and involved in the proposed urban entertainment centre near BC Place Stadium. Malak finds casinos particularly offensive.

Malak says he named his restaurant after Bellagio on Lake Como in northern Italy, as his wife is from Venice.

Malak says he’s more than a bit “steamed” that an American giant resort company thinks it can simply come into a foreign country and dictate terms.

– with files from Ted Chernecki, Global News

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