January 4, 2019
Keene, New Hampshire resident Isabelle Jolie plans on opening a Vietnamese restaurant smack in the middle of the city’s picturesque downtown. She will be serving the traditional Vietnamese noodle dish, pho, which is pronounced “fuh.”
So she decided to call the restaurant “Fuh Keene Great.”
Alas, the Keene City Manager has less of a sense of humor than you do. Jolie has been told that the name is not acceptable.
This might actually give rise to a good challenge on First Amendment grounds except for one thing: When Jolie signed the lease for the restaurant, which is adjacent to City Hall, she was evidently told that the name would not be acceptable. This article in the Manchester Union Leader does not indicate whether that was a provision in the contract governing the restaurant’s name, but one can voluntary give up constitutional rights in a contract. So she likely does not have a First Amendment leg on which to stand.
On the other hand, what harm will be done by letting her use the name?