Pub dispute defendant fails to appear in court

What's in a name?

Everything, apparently, to the owner of the downtown Augusta Irish pub Tipsey McStumbles.

In a federal lawsuit filed last month, Michael Anglin accuses a former employee, Christopher Griffin, of opening a competing bar in Aiken using the same name and logo.

A judge denied Anglin's first request for a temporary injunction until Griffin had a chance to respond in a hearing Monday.

The hearing happened, but Griffin didn't show.

Instead, Anglin's attorney, Robert Mullins, laid out for more than an hour his case that Griffin stole the name and, as a result, is causing his client economic damage.

Anglin was blunt when he took the stand.

"He's killing me with bad propaganda," Anglin said of Griffin. "He's raided this business financially."

For Anglin, the dispute boils down to his bar's name, logo and reputation.

He came up with the concept for the bar three years ago, but wanted a distinct "mark" to set him apart from other bars in Augusta. Anglin hired Paul McGowan to make a logo that combined the Celtic knot and a four-leaf clover.

McGowan testified Monday that he worked only with Anglin on the logo and signed over all copyright interest in it to Anglin.

That's a key piece of the argument, because Griffin has filed for copyright and trademark rights to the Tipsey McStumbles logo and name.

Mullins argued Monday that those applications were made fraudulently.

Mullins said Griffin was granted the copyright and used it as ammunition for a "cease and desist" letter that threatened litigation against the Augusta bar.

That's copyright fraud "in one of the grossest and most malicious ways possible," Mullins said.

The lawsuit also claims proprietary interest in Tipsey's "trade dress features," which include the bar's wood floors, exposed ceiling beams and the skimpy "Catholic schoolgirl" outfits worn by the bar's female servers.

U.S. District Judge Randall Hall took the testimony and a stack of exhibits provided by Mullins under advisement. He said a decision would be issued "promptly."

A person who answered the phone at Tipsey McStumbles in Aiken on Monday afternoon said Griffin wasn't around.