In the restaurant industry, imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery; it may be grounds for a lawsuit.Recent cases of alleged intellectual-property theft and trademark infringement have pitted the owners of upstart restaurants against former employers and ensnared perceived competitors even though their businesses are 350 miles apart. Rebecca Charles, chef-owner of the 10-year-old Pearl Oyster Bar in New York City, settled out of court late last month with her former ...

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