- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Vancouver, British Columbia, seafood restaurant is suing a building council for blocking its lease on the ground that its name, Moby Dick, was “offensive.”

It all started two years ago when the Mengfa International sought to lease out restaurant space to the fish-and-chips franchise to replace an Asian-fusion restaurant that folded up, CourthouseNews.com explained. 

Unfortunately for Moby Dick and its landlord, the building council — or in Canadian legal parlance, a strata corporation — that regulates the property wouldn’t allow it, said Courthouse News, claiming in a Jan. 9 court document that the building council claimed “that the word ‘Dick’ in Moby Dick was an offensive term.”

According to the Courthouse News Service, the strata corporation — Strata Plan LMS 4025 — also claimed Moby Dick’s signage would lower neighboring property values and produce other nuisances like more litter.

On its website the 42-year-old eatery says it is named after Moby Dick, the elusive great white whale from the 1851 Herman Melville novel.

The company’s name and logo, simply put, are “not offensive to the public, given its literary significance and fame,” Mengfa said, reported Courthouse News.

Mengfa and Moby Dick have taken their monthslong struggle to a courtroom after failing to harpoon a deal with the building council. Both companies “submitted several sign and renovation plans to the council in the summer of 2016, but all were denied,” said Courthouse News.

“It was clear by the end of August 2016 that the Strata intended to refuse any signage proposals belonging to Moby Dick which resembled its traditional trademark and brand,” the companies claimed in their court filing, reported Courthouse News. 

“Instead, the Strata demanded that Moby Dick adopt a signage that was ‘minimalist’ both in color and design. As such, the Strata wrongfully denied Moby Dick’s use of its logo, brand name, and goodwill recognition at the commercial property.”

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