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Shawarma spat heads to court as Shawarma Palace sues Gatineau restaurant for trademark infringement

A shawarma dispute may be heading to the Federal Court, with Ottawa restaurant Shawarma Palace seeking more than $5 million in damages for alleged trademark infringement by a Gatineau shawarma restaurant.

Lawyers for Shawarma Palace filed a statement of claim in the Federal Court on Feb. 21 against Le Palais du Shawarma and its director Bassam Naanoua. Shawarma Palace operates a chain of restaurants across the City of Ottawa, while Palais du Shawarma is located on Saint-Joseph Boulevard in Gatineau.

Shawarma Palace registered the trademark for “Shawarma Palace” in January 2015 for use and association with restaurant services and catering services, according to the statement of claim.

The lawsuit was first reported by Ottawa Lookout.

In the documents filed in Federal Court, lawyers say the owners of the Palais du Shawarma, “provide and promote restaurant services that make unauthorized use of the plaintiff’s trademark.”

“The defendants have directed public attention to their services and businesses in such a manner as to cause, or to be likely to cause, confusion in Canada between the services and businesses of the plaintiff and those of the defendants,” the state of claim says.

The statement of claim says operating and promoting restaurant services under the name Le Palais du Shawarma infringes on the plaintiff’s registered trademark, and the two restaurants operating in the same geographical region is contrary to its common law rights.

“The defendants are not authorized to promote restaurant services bearing the Shawarma Palace trademark,” says the statement of claim.

“The defendants’ activities are likely to lower the prestige and reputation of the Shawarma Palace trademark and are likely to have the effect of depreciating the value of the goodwill attaching to the Shawarma Palace registered trademark.”

The owners of Shawarma Palace are seeking $5 million in damages for trademark infringement, and $100,000 in punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages. The statement of claim also wants the Federal Court to order Le Palais du Shawarma to “deliver up or destroy” any packages, labels, advertising material, drawings, plates, negatives, computer or other electronic files.

The allegations have not been tested in court.

The Palais du Shawarma and its director have not filed a response to the statement of claim from Shawarma Palace.

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