Namu Inc., operating in three Portland locations as Namu Korean and Hawaiian or Namu Killer Korean BBQ, has been serving Hawaiian-Korean barbeque since 2010.
In January 2016, the Portland company (“Namu PDX”) received a trademark cease-and-desist letter from Namu Gaji, a San Francisco restaurant (“Namu SFO”…which has a very wooden dining room, seriously check it out). Namu SFO’s registrations claim a date of first use of December 2006 for a “namu logo” and April 2012 for their current operating name, “Namu Gaji.”
The English translation of “namu” is “tree” or “wood”.
Rather than meet Namu SFO’s demands, Namu PDX has instead decided to seek a declaratory judgment of non-infringement in Oregon federal court. Namu PDX goes a step further and requests that Namu SFO also be prevented from advertising or marketing in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, Namu PDX seeks cancellation of Namu SFO’s federal registrations, based on some apparent problems with the owner listed in the applications.
The two NAMUs, one in Portland, NAMU PDX, and one in San Francisco, NAMU SFO, have coexisted peacefully for years. This is largely due to the fact that the Bay Area and the Northwest are distinct geographic regions for the purpose of gastronomic tourism. Where San Francisco is home to many ultra-gourmet restaurants, Portland prides itself on its accessibility to international style street food.
Stay tuned for updates.
Namu Inc. v. Namu Haight, LLC et al.
Court Case Number: 3:16-cv-00453-PK
File Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Plaintiff: Namu Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Darian A. Stanford, Scott T. Rennie, J. Curtis Edmondson of Slinde Nelson Stanford
Defendant: Namu Haight LLC, David Lee
Cause: Declaratory Judgment of Non-infringement of Trademark, Cancellation of Trademark Registration, Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Paul Papak