Lawsuit filed in bitter burger battle over use of ‘Umami’ name

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Los Angeles-based Umami Burger has some serious beef with a Rogers Park restaurant, claiming the owner is violating federal trademark laws by selling a sandwich that bears its name.

Umami means “savory” in Japanese.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday after the national chain “repeatedly” asked the owner of BopNGrill in Rogers Park to stop selling a sandwich they also call the “Umami Burger.”

The restaurant claims its sandwich has “national recognition” and that BopNGrill’s refusal to remove the Umami name from its menu is likely because it wants to confuse consumers, or make them think their burger is associated with the national chain, the suit said.

Umami Burger has more than 20 locations, including one in Chicago, and has been featured in the New York Times, GQ Magazine and the New Yorker, the suit said. Both restaurants opened in 2009, but Umami Burger claims it owns numerous patents associated with the “umami” name, according to the suit.

The six-count suit claims trademark infringement, dilution of a famous mark and deceptive trade practices, among others, and seeks unspecified damages. The restaurant also wants BopNGrill to remove the word “umami” from its menu and destroy any promotional material bearing the word “umami.”

The lawsuit lists BopNGrill, 6604 N. Sheridan Road, and its owner as defendants. Calls made to BopNGrill Friday were not immediately returned.

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