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Ocean Basket plans to expose a US-based food company for allegedly stealing its brand

By admin
13 March 2015

Ocean Basket has set in motion a plan to expose a US-based food company for allegedly stealing its brand, the restaurant chain said on Thursday.

Ocean basket CEO, Grace Harding, has labelled the restaurant an ‘unlawful copycat’ and has accused it of plagiarising the Ocean Basket look and brand.

"Our marketing team plan on alienating this restaurant from their market support. Should we be pressed to take this issue even further, Ocean Basket will adopt the legal route and approach a court in the United States to establish and prove that Ocean Basket has worldwide presence, which prohibits other companies from using our name," she said.

The South African brand, with over 180 restaurants, has appointed a legal team to investigate a case of ‘stolen identity’ after it was discovered that the company was using the Ocean Basket trademark name, its logo, as well as its menu design.

Ocean Basket said in a statement that it, as a proudly South African original brand, its founders and leaders are viewing this issue in a very serious light.

"We intend to not only make our findings known among the South African public but will also be issuing a statement set to infiltrate the American market."

On Tuesday, Fin24’s sister publication Netwerk24 quoted a 2014 report in a local California newspaper, Visalia Times-Delta, that the new restaurant was founded by MG Food Services.

The company is run by Gadija Ghaniem and her husband Maurice, who moved from Johannesburg to California in 2013.

According to the report they also opened Jay's Flame Grilled Peri Peri Chicken (whose emblem originally closely resembled Nando's rooster) and a coffee shop called Mugs & Beans.

This discovery comes as Ocean Basket prepares to mark its 20-year anniversary later this month.

In an interview with Fin24, CEO Grace Harding said she remains obsessed with capturing the company’s unique brand as it continues to expand.

Ocean Basket currently operates 189 restaurants, of which 166 are in South Africa. It currently has no branches in the US.

The others are in Zambia (2), Namibia (2), Swaziland (2), Botswana (1), Zimbabwe (1), Kenya (1), Nigeria (1) and Lesotho (1). There are also branches in Mauritius (2), Greece (1), Cyprus (7) and Dubai (2).

According to Harding it is not the first incident where a food chain has 'stolen' Ocean Basket's trade name.

"In the past we have uncovered restaurants in Thailand, Cyprus, Greece and Australia trading under the Ocean Basket name. In some of those territories Ocean Basket did have existing trademarks and it was therefore easier for Ocean Basket to enforce [its] rights."