Indian restaurateur wins 'copycat' court case against rival restaurant

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant, Law

Copycat Indian restaurant Shopna opened up a mile away from the long-established Shozna in Rochester and produced near identical logos and menus
Copycat Indian restaurant Shopna opened up a mile away from the long-established Shozna in Rochester and produced near identical logos and menus
The owners of an Indian takeaway in Rochester have been forced by the High Court to pay damages of £50k to Jamal Ahmed, chef and owner of Shozna restaurant, after opening a rival takeaway one mile away with nearly identical name, logos, artwork, menus and even takeaway bags.

Ahmed's restaurant Shozna has been serving traditional Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine in Rochester's Maidstone Road, Kent, for 15 years. He runs another restaurant in nearby Strood with his brother and has won several awards including South East Curry Chef of the Year and runner-up in the National Curry Chef competition.

But when a rival restaurant opened up just a mile away in Orion Road and called itself Shopna, Ahmed felt his success and standing was being hijacked by the competition.

More than healthy competition

Ahmed believed his reputation and business was being put at risk by the copycat rival. He argued that what was happening was more than just healthy competition but a blatant attempt to mimic his business.

Shopna did not just pick a similar name but chose the same colours for their font, matching pictures for the logo design and were even cooking from a menu that overlapped and was almost identical.

'Stress for me and the community'

Speaking after the end of the legal battle Jamal Ahmed said: "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," he concluded.

£50k legal costs

On 15 April 2011 an interim High Court injunction was obtained by the law firm Furley Page on behalf of Ahmed that ruled that the Shopna should change the name and logo and stop trading in a way that was infringing Ahmed's copyright.

Since then an application was made to strike out or remove the defence of the defendants, Tufael Choudhury and Wadud Ahmed Chowdhury on the basis that they had not disclosed any evidence that suggested any prospect of success.

On 12 December the High Court agreed and made the injunction final. The judge also ordered the defendants to pay Ahmed more than £50k in legal costs.

In court the defendants revealed that the copycat restaurant, the Shopna, has now ceased trading.

Related topics: Business, Venues, Restaurants

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