Foodservice Equipment Reports

Texas Pizzeria Wins Court Battle With Umami Burger

Umami Burger has lost the trademark infringement case it filed in June against Texas-based Umami Mia Pizzeria. In the case, Los Angeles-based Umami Burger asked that the three-month-old Austin restaurant “immediately change their name.” On Aug. 13, a judge denied Umami Burger's injunction, on the grounds that umami is a common word that cannot be monopolized. The burger chain has 19 units, including 14 in Southern California, three in Northern California and one each in New York and Miami.

Umami Mia Pizzeria opened in Austin on May 31, offering dishes spotlighting umami, defined as the rounded and savory “fifth taste.” The restaurant was founded by Austin restaurant veterans Mark Turner, Rick Engel and Adam Weisberg. In a statement, Turner expressed his belief that customers were unlikely to confuse Umami Mia Pizzeria with Umami Burger, which has only two locations outside of its California home base. “We believe that a very low percentage of Texans have even heard of them. One restaurant company cannot own a common word like umami, which is particularly well-suited to a pizzeria because many pizza ingredients are high in umami. Umami, along with sweet, or sour, or bitter, or salty, are common, defined words found in almost every modern, English-language dictionary.”

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