Restaurant wins court case against ‘copycat’ rival

George Crofton-Martin

Partner

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August 19, 2020

Furley Page Press Archive : First published 5 Jan 2012

An Indian restaurateur forced to take legal action against a rival for ‘copying’ his business has finally won his court case after more than five days in the High Court.

Jamal Ahmed, an internationally acclaimed chef and owner of the long-established Shozna restaurant in Rochester, claimed that rival takeaway business Shopna, which opened just a mile away, had deliberately chosen a similar name, mimicked Shozna’s get-up, artwork and logo, and produced almost identical menus and takeaway bags.

Furley Page, the leading south east law firm acting for Mr Ahmed, obtained an interim injunction in April, when the High Court ruled that the Shopna had to change its name and logo and cease trading in such a way that infringed Mr Ahmed’s trademark and copyright.

Proceedings were issued against the defendants, Tufael Choudhury and Wadud Ahmed Chowdhury, for trademark and copyright infringement, and passing off. Since 15 April, while the interim High Court injunction has been in place, Mr Ahmed applied to strike out the defendants’ defences on the basis that they disclosed no reasonable prospect of success, and for an order for the interim injunction to be made final.

On 12 December, Mr Justice Hildyard, sitting in the High Court, found in Mr Ahmed’s favour on all grounds and made the injunction final. He also ordered the defendants to pay Mr Ahmed more than £50,000 in costs.

George Crofton-Martin, the senior solicitor at Furley Page representing Mr Ahmed, said: “Mr Ahmed has gone to great lengths to promote quality Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine, working with schools, charities and young people. He has no problem with healthy competition, provided it is fair. What he objected to was the blatant way in which the defendants mimicked his business, even using the same type face and colour schemes.

“The Shozna name and logo are registered trademarks and Mr Ahmed’s menus and artwork are protected by copyright. This was a clear and deliberate attempt by the defendants to springboard on the back of his hard-earned standing to gain a head start. The similarities between the two brands were causing confusion among consumers and Mr Ahmed felt his reputation, business and his employees were all being placed at risk.”

Mr Ahmed said he was extremely relieved that the defendants had been restrained ‘once and for all’ from mimicking his name, menus and artwork: “All I ever asked for was that the defendants change the name. I never wanted to make any money out of this.

“Despite asking countless times to have a meeting with them to try to resolve matters, they refused. It was only when I was forced to get an injunction that they took any action.

“This whole matter has caused a lot of stress not just for me but among the local community. I am pleased the High Court has agreed with me on each and every ground and that the matter is finally over.”

The Shozna, in Maidstone Road, has been established for 15 years. Mr Ahmed, who runs another restaurant in Strood with his brother, has won numerous accolades, including a National Curry Chef award and South East Curry Chef of the Year. For further information about the Shozna Indian Restaurant visit www.shozna.com

The Shopna, which subsequently changed its name to Moiyuree, opened in Orion Road in February. Counsel for the defendants told the court that the business has now ceased trading.

For further information about copyright infringements and intellectual property law contact George Crofton-Martin on 01227 763939.

Furley Page Press Archive : First published 5 Jan 2012