Is Baja Fresh Straight-Out Copying Kogi BBQ?
In what appears to be inspiration from the street (or a complete rip off) Baja Fresh is bringing new Kogi Korean BBQ menu items to its new concept test location in Irvine. Not only can you get alcohol and cilantro lime rice at the fast casual restaurant, you can get Korean BBQ inspired tacos and burritos that just happened to be partially named Kogi like the famous Kogi BBQ.
Since the Baja Fresh news broke, customers have been asking Kogi BBQ what was up and this morning they posted a quick note about it on their blog: "Just to let you all know, we are definitely not affiliated with any of this business. All of our energies have been focusing our our energies on serving you the best we can."
Interestingly enough, although filed under different goods and services categories, Baja Fresh applied for a "Kogi" trademark on May 8th while Kogi BBQ filed for theirs on December 4th of last year, earning a "first use" and "first use in commerce" designation (to see, use a basic search for "kogi" under Trademarks > Search TM Database, direct links expire).
Kogi, by the way, is not proper Korean and is supposed to be Gogi. The "K" in Kogi BBQ was intended for marketing reasons--it's more catchy and the "K" stands for Korean--and it is a play off the common misspelling, according to Mike Prasad who created the name, brand and Twitter concept for the mobile eatery.
Will this be a lawsuit in the waiting? If so, the world of Twitter will likely revolt against Baja Fresh. And that news will spread fast.