@pizza (pronounced ‘at pizza’), a new Edinburgh restaurant claiming to produce ‘The World’s Fastest Pizza’, is entangled in legal allegations with the US &pizza chain for having copied design and product identity.
Unlike @pizza, which is opening on Saturday November 25 at Charlotte Lane in Edinburgh, &pizza (pronounced ‘and pizza’) first opened in Washington DC in 2012.
Since its opening, it has become well-known for its community-led ethos and its pizza, which customers can customize themselves.
&pizza is suing @pizza for their apparent similarities in menu, design and language with the chain claiming unfair competition, trademark and copyright infringement and trespass.
“As a result, @pizza is now the unremorseful and unauthorized copycat of &pizza, launching a knock-off chain of restaurants in the U.K.,” &pizza asserts in the lawsuit.
Last year, &pizza received $25 million of investment for expansion and apparently sought to use the money to expand to the UK.
Now, the US firm seeks $2 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and attorneys fees.
In the suit, &pizza states that representatives of the Edinburgh restaurant repeatedly travelled to D.C. specifically to research the &pizza’s brand and operations before creating their business.
@pizza in Edinburgh is accused of having a too similar logo, shape of pizza and marketing strategies.
For example, the suit says that @pizza show “oval skinny pizza design in elongated rectangular skinny boxes branded with the slogans “LOVE@pizza” and “YOU@pizza.”
The pizza at &pizza is similarly shaped with its rectangular boxes saying “LOVE&pizza” and “YOU&pizza.”
&pizza CEO Michael Lastoria told Eater, “We have seen elements of this happen before but not as blatant. We want to make sure we protect our intellectual property because it’s a brand we hold so near and dear.”
Meanwhile, @pizza co-founders Bhasker Dhir and Rupert Lyle said to The Skinny: “If there was any basis to these claims this action would be taken in the UK.
“Any claims from other restaurants have no legal basis and will not prevent us from operating or expanding the business.
“We are confident that @pizza is making a bold new statement about what pizza can be and customers in Edinburgh can taste this first hand at our restaurant.”
Image: Yoshihide Nomura via Flickr