Popularly known for its wide range of menu items and also extremely long queues and waiting time to get a table, Malaysians are well familiar with the Chinese hotpot chain – Hai Di Lao (海底捞).
The restaurant chain from mainland China has branches in One Utama, Sunway Pyramid and Pavillion, just to name a few; recent news would not involve any of those in Malaysia though but would involve Hai Di Lao as a whole.
Haidilao had recently sued another hotpot brand with an uncannily similar name – He Di Lao (河底捞).
However, a Chinese court has dismissed the lawsuit citing that the first words of both brands do not have the same meaning, where “Hai” means sea and “He” means river in the Chinese language. Furthermore, they don’t sell the name kind of cuisine as well.
Peng Dingyun, president of the Intellectual Property Tribunal of Changsa Court, added on by saying that the initial characters of the two trademarks are not considered similar as they have different pronunciations and meanings.
A deeper observation into both the brands would reveal that Hai Di Lao serves Sichuan-style hotpot while He Di Lao serves Hunan river fish dishes.
The board made the decision that consumers would be able to tell both from each other and will not be mistaking the businesses from one another.
Even though they won the case, Hedilao has changed their name to prevent any such issues from arising.
Learning from their lost, Haidilao subsequently went on to register 177 more defensive trademarks to prevent other establishments getting a free pass from them. The trademarks include “Gan Di Lao” and “Yue Di Lao”.