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What would Buddha do?

The owners of a chain of "contemporary Asian" restaurants called Buddakan has sued a brand-new "Modern Asian Fusion" restaurant in Brookline called Buddachen for alleged trademark infringement.

Although Buddakan only has outlets in Philadelphia, Atlantic City and New York, it alleges people would be confused by Buddachen, which opened just this month at 1223 Beacon St. in Brookline (site of the former Jae's). The suit, filed today in US District Court in Boston, asks a judge to tell Buddachen to knock it off and pay Buddakan all the money it's made so far.

Complete complaint.

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Comments

I'm waiting for Cheap Trick to file a subsequent suit, alleging confusion would arise between Buddakan's three restaurants and the group's legendary "Live at Budokan" album.

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Spot on LOL

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If they had a Buddakan somewhere vaguely close to Boston, such as Providence or Lowell, the suit might have merit. But NYC is not part of Boston's local market in any way, and the other two locations are even further away.

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Yeah, but Buddakan has nation-wide protection since it was registered with the USPTO. It's not like Buddachen can claim common law protection in MA since it was already using the mark before Buddakan was registered with the USPTO -- they just opened.

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I concur. That Buddakan has a federally registered mark will not help it either; while it theoretically has an exclusive right to its name, it cannot actually take advantage of that unless it moves into the Boston market, or is so well known amongst those Bostonians that would go there that the restaurants are being confused (which seems unlikely).

Of course, whenever Buddakan would like to move up here, they could go against Buddachen again, and might succeed. I'd welcome them; Coolidge Corner has a dangerously low number of Asian restaurants. We could also use more Mexican and kosher places.

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"Coolidge Corner has a dangerously low number of Asian restaurants"? You've got to be kidding. Are Khao Sarn, Rod Dee, Dok Bua, Mr. Sushi, Gari, Genki-Ya, Shiki, Fugakyu, Yasu, Chef Chow's, and Zenna Noodle not enough for you?

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He also said Coolidge Corner is light on Mexican and kosher...

Did the sarcasm escape you? Evidently so.

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I did think it was sarcasm at first, but it was the mention of Kosher restaurants that threw me off - Coolidge Corner is actually startlingly light on Kosher restaurants. What is there besides Rami's, Jerusalem Pita, and Taam China?

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Michael's, Zaftig's, Rubin's a little further down Harvard...

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Of those three, only Rubin's is Kosher, and I don't really consider that to be in Coolidge Corner, seeing as how it's three short blocks from Commonwealth Avenue.

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While all Jewish food may not be "Kosher" in practice, to most goyim, a "kosher deli" is the same thing as a "Jewish deli". Maybe it's even as simple as a big-K/little-k thing, but Michael's is a NYC-style Jewish deli. Zaftig's has Matzo ball soup on the menu as well as knishes, kugels, and Challah French Toast...

Also, while Rubin's is a bit down the road, it's still inside of Brookline, and I don't necessarily know that neighborhood as anything other than "near Coolidge Corner on Harvard Ave".

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The area just after CC on the way down Harvard towards Comm Ave is often called JFK Crossing.. But Rubin's is even beyond that.

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I doubt the court would award the damages that Buddakan is asking for, but I can certainly see them granting the injunction against using the name Buddachen. When I worked as a trademark researcher, I certainly would have flagged that name as 'confusingly similar' - it's likely that they'll target the same clientele, and besides that, it definitely seems logical that Buddakan might want to expand to Boston. It would be *awesome* if Buddakan came to Boston.

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If the two restaurants use the same trade channels for instance. Customers aren't the only ones to be confused, so can vendors. And since the two outlets will serve similar cuisines, the argument can be made they might use the same vendors and relationships can be hurt.

Further, because of the internet, geography is less important than it used to be in cases like this. Someone looking up one establishment could end up seeing online reviews for the other without realizing it. The Brookline's outlet best argument is that the spelling is different, so people searching for one place would be less likely to come up with the others results through a search engine.

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Grub Street reports the owner of Buddakan has done the same exact thing he accuses Buddachen of doing: Open up a restaurant with a similar name to an existing place. And more than once.

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