The Story of ‘Wraps’: Donair vs Donair Trademark Infringement

These days fast food chains are a sensation and have their own fan following; be it regular junk food eaters or fast food lovers or foodies in general, food, be it fast or otherwise is a basic sustenance factor worldwide. When it comes to fast food, some may argue vehemently in favour of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) food chain, or compare McDonalds and Burger King chains with regard to the range of burgers and hamburgers offered by either, while some may be loyal customers of and so on and so forth.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is not new to the food/restaurant chains business as company logos, brand merchandising, advertising, slogans, jingles, etc. would all come under the purview of various categories of IPR, with trademarks beating the others with respect to this arena.

Recently, the popular ‘wrap’ food chain, King of Donair, which is a famous Halifax, the provincial capital of Nova Scotia, is a fast-food chain which promotes itself as the original home of the much-loved donair wrap. They have filed a trademark infringement action in a federal court against a restaurant in Burnaby, British Columbia which is titled ‘Donair King’. The latter were incorporated in British Colombia in early 2006, and have been operating under the name of Donair King Restaurant Ltd. As per a statement of claim filed earlier in September, the King of Donair stated that Donair King had caused confusion by infringing its name as well as logo. King of Donair also claimed that it has been operating under the said name and the famous crown logo associated with it since as early as 1979 with a subsequent trademark registration after eight years in 1987.

Owing to the same King of Donair emphasised that the confusingly similar looking and phonetically similar trademarks used by Donair King would hamper their already established good will and market value thereby depreciating its trademark existence under their trademark laws. This would also imply that use of the trademark as well as the trade name ‘Donair King’ would lead consumers to the inferred belief that the Donair King is connected with the King of Donair and that the products and services offered by the former are associated with providing, operating, selling or franchising by the latter or done so in approval of the same.

Although misappropriation of good will is the outcry raised by the King of Donair, despite the same, none of the allegations contended by them have been proved prima facie in court. The latter is praying the court for relief, and requesting them to order Donair King to either offer up or destroy all menus, packaging, signs, promotional/advertising material, business cards, ads and any other similar material in their possession which bears akin to its trade name as well as the trademark of the crown logo. Apart from this, King of Donair is also seeking Donair King to cough up the punitive and exemplary damages along with legal costs.

While Donair King has already denied the allegations in its statement of defence filed in October, they would cease the usage of its name and trademark provided King of Donair agrees to terminate the present legal proceeding against it.

Although the whole hullabaloo around King of Donair and Donair King is pertaining to the confusingly similar trade names and trademarked logo, for general information the Donair wrap is an all-beef wrap made with a sweet sauce that is closely related to the Greek gyro.