LAB Miami Co-Working Space Sues Wynwood Lab for Copying Name

If you've spent any time with out-of-towners during Art Basel, you've probably sighed deeply as they referred to Wynwood as "Miami's Brooklyn." At this point, "Brooklynization" is a worldwide scourge: Whether you travel to Miami, Portland, Paris, or Istanbul, you'll see the same "third-wave" coffee locations, 1920s-style speakeasies, and twee childcare facilities full of parents in beanie hats. Hipster creativity is dead.

In fact, Miami's experiment in cookie-cutter coolness has now gone to court: Wynwood's two major co-working spaces (buildings where freelance millennials can pay to work next to one another) have both named themselves "the Lab," and one is suing the other for trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The LAB Miami, located on NW 26th Street, opened first, in June 2012. But this year, the Wynwood Lab — an entirely different operation — set up shop exactly one block away, on NW 25th Street.

The LAB Miami filed suit Wednesday. Calls to both companies were not returned.

The suit says the Wynwood Lab's name has caused LAB Miami "harm, particularly given the close geographic proximity (0.3 miles) between the parties' competing venues in the Wynwood Arts District in Miami, Florida."

The beef is real: It's not unusual to try to grab a Lyft to the LAB Miami and end up at Wynwood Lab instead. The two names are genuinely confusing.

On November 14, the LAB Miami even hosted an event called "Win Lab," in case your mouth isn't foaming from confusion already.

This past July 11, LAB Miami sent its competitor cease-and-desist letters demanding the second company stop using the "Lab" name. Instead, the suit says, Wynwood Lab tried to trademark its own name 11 days later.

The suit says the Wynwood Lab's name "is designed and is calculated to and is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake," and to deceive people into thinking the companies are somehow related. They aren't.

Despite the neighborhood's creative-looking shell, Wynwood is suffering from some serious Brooklynization problems: Earlier this year, the nearby dance and hip-hop bar Brick House was forced to change its name to "Brick" after someone else complained that the name "Brick House" was already taken.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.