Southall Shahi Naan Kebab forced to rebrand ‘Samma Naan Kebab’
An iconic Pakistani grill house in west London has succeeded in legally compelling a rival restaurant to alter its similar sounding name.
The “original” Shahi Nan Kabab took legal action against Shahi Naan Kebab to partially change its name to Samma Naan Kebab.
Owner Shekio Aslam filed a case against his competitors for trademark infringement and because customers have been left confused over which of the two branches in Southall is the original.
The very first Shahi Nan Kabab was opened on South Road bridge opposite Southall station as a takeaway shack by Shekio’s father Mohammed way back in 1969.
The ‘Bridge Walleh’ owners, as they have come to be known, were forced to relocate nearly half a century later in 2017 to 108 South Road after restorative work on the bridge led to the fast food joint being demolished.
After relocating a third time to 88 High Street in 2020 where they currently reside, the vacated site was taken over by an unnamed ex-employee of Shahi Nan Kebab and Muhammad Usman Riaz who rebranded it from Chixy’s Grill to Shahi Naan Kebab in April last year.
Shekio told FtLion at the time that he had started legal proceedings to “clear the name [and] to clear the confusion” surrounding The Shahi Nan Kabab for which his family are registered trademark holders.
Samma Naan Kebab name-change ‘creates a substantial risk of confusion’
But a dissatisfied Shekio later instructed his legal team to pursue a complete change of name believing that Samma Naan Kebab still “creates a substantial risk of confusion”.
A legal letter sent to Mr Riaz said: “It is difficult to escape the conclusion that in choosing the name Samma, your clients were looking for a name that, whilst not identical to Shahi, was sufficiently similar to ensure that consumers would continue to be misled. In the circumstances, your clients need to find a new name for the business that simply cannot be confused with Shahi Nan or Shahi Naan.”
Samma were also asked to remove from circulation any uniforms bearing the name Shahi Naan Kebab since “[t]his too is infringing material”.
But Shekio has revealed that Samma’s legal representative disputed claims of confusion insisting that not only was Samma a family name which avoided causing any confusion, but that Nan, Naan and Kebab were all common words, while the shopfront signage too had been sufficiently changed.
Although he was “happy” with the “silly name they chose”, Shekio told FtLion: “We are still going to contest the name ‘Naan Kabab’.”
Despite repeated attempts at reaching Samma Naan Kebab’s owner for comment, Mr Riaz was unavailable at the time of publication.