I would want to understand all the facts and circumstances in more detail before offerng any insights. I think frankly anything I could say at this point would be assuming way too much.
That said, you cannot protect a business idea but you can protect the trademark. If no non-compete was signed and frankly if brought to a NY court it would likely be thrown out anyway, you cannot be stopped from opening a competitive business. It is the trademark issue I am concerned of here and would need to know more.
The good news is that most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult. So feel free to reach out to discuss in more detail.
New York, NY
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It depends on how similar the concepts are to each other.
You would be well-served to discuss your dilemma with a New York intellectual property attorney in a confidential forum as soon as possible.
It is impossible and unethical to predict whether you will win your case. Although you did not have a non-compete agreement, if the public is confused about the connection between your previous employer's restaurant and your new establishment, your former employer may have a valid case. As the two other attorneys mentioned, there are many facts and issues which would need to be explored to thoroughly understand and advise on your situation.
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