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Restaurant wins £50K payout in copycat court case

A restaurant owner who took legal action against another establishment for ‘copying’ has won after a court case lasting five days. Jamal Ahmed, chef and owner of the long-estab- lished Shozna restaurant in Rochester, Kent, argued that the Shopna, which opened just a mile away, had deliber- ately chosen a similar name, and used almost identical menus and logos to create confusion amongst diners and gain an unfair advantage.

Furley Page, a law firm acting for Mr Ahmed, obtained an interim injunc- tion in April 2011, 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 copy-

right infringement, and passing off. 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 no problem with healthy competition, pro- vided 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 were reg- istered trademarks and Mr Ahmed’s menus and artwork were protected by copyright Mr Ahmed adds, “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 meet- ing 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.”

The Shopna subsequently changed its name to Moiyuree. However Counsel for the defendants told the court that the business had now ceased trading.

Facebook furore in Bangladesh

A university lecturer has been sen- tenced to six months in a Bangladeshi jail after making remarks on Facebook about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Ruhul Khandakar was found guilty in absentia of contempt of court after failing to return from Australia in response to a court summons.

Mr Khandakar made the post in question following the death of one of the country’s best known film direc- tors, Tareq Masud, in a road accident last August. Blaming the government for the fact there are so many road deaths in Bangladesh Mr Khandakar is alleged to have written on Facebook that: “Tareq Masud died as a result of government giving licence to unquali- fied drivers. Many die, why does not Sheikh Hasina die?

The remarks cuased outrage amongst Sheikh Hassina’s supporters and the legal action followed. The HIgh Court has demanded his return to Australia

and also that his university employers take action against him.

When the comments appeared in the media, there were protests by the prime minister’s supporters The high court ordered officials to return Mr Khandakar, who is studying in Australia, to Bangladesh. It also directed his university employers to take action against him.

Spice Business Magazine


January 2012

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