Written by Ananya Tiwari
Praveen Kumar Jain runs a small eatery in the busy Paharganj market. His specialty is the chur chur naan — something he claims his father created in the 1980s. This claim, and a tussle for market share and fame, led him to file a petition in the Delhi High Court against his rival and neighbouring eatery for using the term ‘chur chur naan’ as part of its restaurant’s name.
Jain’s Amritsari Chur Chur Naan had dragged rival Rajan Seth’s Tasty Foods — Paharganj ke Mashoor Chur Chur ke Naan to court, but the HC quashed the petition by adjudicating that ‘chur chur naan’ is a generic term, like Amritsari kulcha, Hyderabadi biryani, Murthal ke paranthe, etc, and could not be trademarked. The court also allowed Seth to use the generic dish name. “Expressions such as Naan, Chur Chur Naan, Amritsari Chur Chur Naan are similar to expressions such as Amritsari Kulcha, Malabar Parantha, Hyderabadi Biryani, Kashmiri Dum Aloo… and food products which are used in common parlance by the general public. The word ‘Chur Chur’ merely means ‘crushed’ and ‘Chur Chur Naan’ means ‘Crushed Naan’ and nothing more. It is incapable of acquiring trade mark signification,” the HC order said.
In the wake of the HC order, Jain said: “This is a 1940s restaurant. We created this specialty dish, chur chur naan, in the1980s. My father just took the naans and crushed them. That’s how the name came about.”
The court has, however, asked eateries to modify their name. “Defendants… have agreed to change the name of their outlets to ‘Paharganj Seth ke mashoor chur chur naan’ and ‘Paharganj Seth ke mashoor Amritsari naan’. The entire name shall be used in the same font, colour and in the same style without giving any undue prominence to ‘chur chur naan’ or Amritsari chur chur naan.
A resident of Naraina Vihar, Jain said the motivation for his HC petition was not money. “Hawas nahin hai, naam chahiye bas,” he said.
Asked about his rival’s eatery, he said: “Many neighbours told him that he is doing the wrong thing. But he doesn’t listen.” Jain, however, does not seem to have taken action against other eateries in the neighbourhood using the words ‘chur chur naan’. One such eatery is just a stone’s throw away, but Jain said he didn’t take them on because “they have just opened shop recently”. His neighbour Seth, whose shop is 15 years old, claimed: “This is a generic name, you cannot register it or stop anyone from using it. Their (Jain’s) shop is the oldest, but earlier they only used to sell chole bhature. They started chur chur naan only seven-eight years ago. They wanted to trademark it so they could disrupt the market.
(The writer is an intern with The Indian Express)