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War Erupts Over 'ESPYs' Pre-Party

7/13/2010 6:55 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

ESPN is locked in a bitter standoff with a famous L.A. restaurant -- all over an "ESPY Awards Pre-Award Show Party" that's supposed to go down at the eatery ... tonight!


TMZ has learned ESPN sent a cease and desist letter to Cicada restaurant in downtown L.A. -- accusing them of violating its trademark by using the ESPN name to promote an event that's not officially endorsed by ESPN.

But the restaurant is serving up some legal smack talk of their own in a strongly-worded letter back to the network -- in which they rip into ESPN for being "arrogant," "narcissistic" and "out of step ... with its own assumed importance."

As for their legal defense, the restaurant claims it is not the one behind the party -- it is merely the venue ... but Cicada's attorney, Keith Fink, closed his letter with a particularly personal parting shot saying:

"This whole situation is more of farce than the 'King James' show aired by ESPN last week."

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!

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Keith Fink had better be right. If not, uh oh!

1563 days ago

Lebron the quitter    

ESPN, the worldwide leader in hype.

Good for you Cicada.

Last week entertainment and sports programming network jumped the shark with the out of control Lebron...I mean Le-quitter cluster fiasco.

Jumped the shark...........google it

1563 days ago


Cicada is a beautiful venue, My husband & I were recently married there.
If I promoted ESPN on my wedding invitation I imagine Cicada would not be liable for violating their trademark.

The food at Cicada is amazing!!! I hope this generates some well deserved publicity at LA's most amazing restaurant & venue.

1563 days ago


Why hasn't TMZ post the Mel Gibson tapes? Did Mel threaten to sue?

1563 days ago


Get over it ESPN, you jerks

1563 days ago

Throwback kid    

ESPN is so overhyped, at this point their core audience are fratboys. The anchors are so self important that if I ran into any of them I would smack them with an open hand to the face.

The Lebron show was just pathetic, ESPN lost all credability with that crap, they are worse than MTV now.

1563 days ago

My New Name    

This appears to be clearly a violation on the part of the restaurant. If they are promoting an event in their restaurant that uses a trademarked property, it doesn't make any difference how arrogant they are or how much a "farce" their programming is. The law protects intellects and idiots the same.

Trademark infringement is just that regardless of who holds the trademark and what someone thinks of them. That is the very purpose of a trademark.

It appears to me that the lawyer might have gotten his client in deeper water, as ESPN will no doubt pursue damages now that the event has happened and that is ESPN's only recourse. ESPN has no choice, because if they don't, they set a precedent that their logo and properties are up for grabs to anyone who wants to use them.

1563 days ago


espn didn't invent the ****ing alphabet, get over yourself

1563 days ago

Bret Woolley    

Keith Fink... Awesome attorney. One of the few who stand-up for the little guy. These Corporate Giants think they can stomp on anyone and most of the tiome they do. What do they really gain from suing Cicada? Really, how is this behemoth, ESPN, harmed anyway? The answer is... NOT AT ALL!

Fink and Cicada will prevail!

1563 days ago


ESPN has been on my sh*tlist for a while now. They deserve some humbling!

1563 days ago


ESPMism has gotten to big for their own. I wish Fox Sports could start competing with them. They are very liberal over at ESPN and they want to carry all the sports, and not everybody had cable.

1563 days ago


ESPN is coming off REALLY poorly here. Big bad bully people are starting to hate

1562 days ago


I know of Keith Fink and his illegal and immoral tactics. He is a self important fool who seems to have never won a case and has left many of his clients in ruins (including me). I also know of a large group of people and businesses who will not do any business with any of Finks clients. It has prevented me from getting a job. Mr Fink has told me that he "owns TMZ" so this will not likely get posted but if it falls through the cracks -- realize Cicada that you will likely now have less clients than before you hired Fink

1562 days ago
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