Page 5 of 8
When Barney's Co-op — a business utterly unrelated to theirs — announced plans to move to Cobble Hill in 2010, the other Co-op (again, totally unrelated) in town took serious issue, worried that the fashion retailer would "undermine efforts to brand the idea of collective shopping."
A general manager spoke to the Brooklyn Paper about a possible lawsuit, saying, "It’s a new thing having a co-op in Brooklyn that’s not a co-op. There is something wrong with that." The legal basis for this? A somewhat arcane city law stating that “Any cooperative corporation may sue for an injunction against such prohibited use of the term," i.e. use by a company that is not, in fact, run as a co-operative. In the end, Barney's — who has been using the term for at least 25 years — opened without much real opposition, but still, the threat looms.