Brand knockoffs are high comedy. Like when a TV show can’t get the rights to feature Baskin-Robbins ice cream, so they show Draskin-Bobbins ice cream instead. Or the time I bought my brother a pair of Ray-Bon aviators on a Barcelona sidewalk. Or Robert Cop 3. But brand knockoffs can also be a real pain in the ass—like The Halal Girls, a blatant infringement of beloved franchise The Halal Guys.
Restaurant Business reports that New York City–based The Halal Guys, which has 75 U.S. locations, filed suit this week in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against The Halal Girls, a recently opened restaurant in Huntington, New York. The guys accused the gals of “a premeditated and willful scheme” to steal The Halal Guys’ trademarks. It’s impossible to deny the similarities, from The Halal Girls’ red-and-yellow logo to the upstart’s menu, which advertises “large platters” of halal dishes that are topped with a white sauce that looks eerily similar to the famous Halal Guys sauce. The Halal Guys wrote:
“The Halal Guys is a world-famous international fast halal food franchise. The Halal Guys began as a singular halal food cart in midtown Manhattan in the 1990s, founded by a trio of Egyptian immigrants who accomplished the American Dream … The Halal Girls is an intentional knock-off halal food restaurant located in downtown Huntington, New York.”
In the complaint, The Halal Guys reported sending a letter to The Halal Girls last August asking the brand to change its name. One of the restaurant’s owners apparently said they planned to change the name to “Halal Acai Bowels (sic),” genuinely the most unfortunate typo in the history of culinary legal disputes. The Halal Guys is also asking that The Halal Girls’ website transfer directly to its brand; finally, the operation is seeking all of The Halal Girls’ profits, along with additional costs like legal fees. It’s a real “Halal Guys are from Mars, Halal Girls are from Venus” situation.