Mikulski rakes Sony for crushing 'Sony' Japanese giant had tiff with city eatery's name.

March 22, 1991|By John Fairhall | John Fairhall,Evening Sun Staff

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., today rebuked Sony Corp. for forcing Baltimore restaurateur Sony Florendo to change the name of her businesses.

"I don't think a megacorporation with megabucks ought to crush a small entrepreneur who in no way jeopardizes their operation or by the very nature of the products they sell encroaches on that reputation," Mikulski said in a brief speech on the Senate floor.

"This woman's business sold delightful Asian food. It did not sell TVs, it didn't sell radios and it in no way was poaching on the reputation of Sony electronic products."

Mikulski asked Sony to reconsider its decision.

Florendo, nicknamed Sony since she was a child, has a restaurant on Park Avenue that was named Sony Florendo's and other restaurants and businesses at Harborplace, on Belair Road, and in Owings Mills. She still has the businesses, but a lawsuit brought by Sony Corp. for trademark infringement is forcing her to remove Sony from their names. Her deadline for making the changes is this week.

Mikulski termed herself a friend of Florendo's. The senator's spokesman said she has long been supportive of the Filipino native in her fight against the Japanese company.

Mikulski also read from a letter she is sending today to Akio Morita, chairman of Sony Corp.

"Shame on you, Sony," it begins. "Shame on you for forcing [her] to remove her name from her restaurants in my hometown of Baltimore . . . I want you to voluntarily and immediately reconsider this decision."

"Your company won't let Mrs. Sony Florendo use her own good name to sell her own good food in her own country that allows you to trade freely even as you treat her unfairly."

A spokeswoman for Sony Corp. of America, in New Jersey, could not be reached for comment.

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