Bensusan Restaurant Corporation (“Bensusan”) (plaintiff) was the owner of the famous “Blue Note” jazz club in New York City. Richard B. King (defendant) owned a small cabaret in the college town of Columbia, Missouri, also named “The Blue Note.” In 1993, Bensusan contacted King, ordering him to cease and desist using the name “The Blue Note,” owing to a trademark of the name. King’s attorney resisted and the matter was not raised again until King created a website for his company in 1996. On the website, he referenced the New York club and was eventually sued in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by Bensusan, who sought trebled compensatory damages and punitive damages as well as attorney fees. The district court dismissed the complaint. Bensusan appealed.