The Lowdown: The Samhaji

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The Samhaji Rola Wala trademark

Related tags: Indian cuisine, QSR, Trademark, Restaurant

Indian fast casual group Rola Wala says it has begun the process of trademarking the recipe for its samosa/onion bhaji hybrid, the Samhaji.

So it’s a samosa crossed with an onion bhaji? Hardly sounds innovative, in fact it sounds a bit dhal...
It may not be the most exciting addition to the Indian food scene, but these Samhajis have proved popular with consumers since Rola Wala launched them as a Deliveroo-exclusive in early April. During National Samosa Week they were said to be selling out within just a few hours of the orders opening.

Why so popular?
According to Deliveroo – who is pushing this story – samosas and onion bhajis are the two most ordered appetisers in the UK, so it apparently makes sense to combine them into one tasty treat. It’s described by Rola Wala as being a “modern take on the traditional samosa and onion bhaji”, with crispy onions, chilli, turmeric and lamb parcelled in a classic samosa pastry. There’s also a vegan version that’s loaded with lentils, beetroot and a secret seven spice masala.

And now Rola Wala want to trademark the dish?
Apparently so. The team says they have decided they want to protect the recipe, as they assume copy cats will soon start to emerge. Although trying to trademark a recipe isn’t exactly a straightforward process​. They would probably have more success if they just settled for trademarking the name.

According to the law firm Cripps Pemberton Greenish, to be patentable “a recipe or technique would have to be new, and not obvious to a skilled chef”​.​ And given that Samhajis ostensibly just tinker with the filling of a classic samosa, it hardly seems novel. As we’ve seen before, though, trademarking the name of a new foodstuff is very possible. Take the Cronut (™) for example, which one can find for sale in various bakeries and street food markets across London, but only Dominique Ansel can actually call it a Cronut.

What would happen if someone else did choose to start selling Samhajis?
If the trademark is in place, then there would be grounds for a legal argy bhaji and Rola Wala would be able to prevent others from selling the dish under that name. At the moment, though, there’s very little they could do. Although the individual ripping off the recipe may face some bad korma as a result…

Don’t you mean karma?

Related topics: Trends & Reports

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