Federal Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum ruled Wednesday in the city's favor.
The debt holders of the bankrupt restaurant had sought to stop the city from using the name in the future. The city wanted the court to declare it the rightful owner of the name.
The judge noted that "Tavern on the Green" has been a famous name associated in the public mind with a restaurant in the city's Central Park since 1934. The name is valued at $19 million.
Tavern on the Green served its last meal and closed its doors on New Year's Eve following financial problems.
For 75 years, since it first opened amid the Great Depression, the Tavern has attracted clients from around the world.
Former owner Warner LeRoy took over the Tavern's lease in 1973. He died in 2001, and his wife, Kay LeRoy, and daughter Jennifer LeRoy took the reins.
The LeRoys lost to Dean Poll, who operates the stylish Loeb Boathouse restaurant overlooking the Central Park lake and offered to invest $25 million on Tavern renovations. The city awarded him a 20-year license in August, citing his significant capital investment and vision; the new Tavern will incorporate green building technology while a conservatory-style dining space will complement the original Victorian architecture.
Poll also plans an outdoor cafe, bicycle racks and new public restrooms.