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Mumbai food firms row over BBC brand

By Shantanu Guha Ray

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image captionBorivali Biryani Centre serves the popular one-pot curry

Two food outlets in the Indian city of Mumbai have gone to court in a battle for the right to use the acronym BBC.

The Borivali Biryani Centre says it is the "original BBC" and that the Bombay Baking Company stole the acronym.

A spokesman for the biryani centre said he did not care the acronym was used by a top global broadcaster: "That may be abroad - but in India we are the BBC."

The biryani centre wants $100,000 (£67,626) in damages. The bakery says it does not see what the fuss is about.

A spokesman for the bakery, which is located in the plush JW Marriott hotel, did not want to be drawn on whether it was right to use the BBC acronym.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) press office in London said it would not be commenting on the case.

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image captionThe Bombay Baking Company says it cannot understand what the fuss is all about

At the root of the case, which is being heard by the Bombay High Court, appears to be the fact that both eateries answer the telephone with the greeting: "Hello BBC, what's your order?"

The popular biryani restaurant says it has been registered as Borivali Biryani Centre (BBC) for more than a decade.

"Our staff are trained to claim they are from BBC. In Mumbai, BBC stands for Borivali Biryani Centre. Someone ought to value this investment, someone must value our trademark," senior restaurant manager Pradeep Udeshi said.

He said the restaurant registered "BBC as its trademark" in 2002.

The Bombay Baking Company says it is "foxed by the claim" from the biryani centre.

"What is the connection? Our names are different. We sell breads, croissants, cakes, pastries, salads, tea and coffee. The restaurant sells biryani. So what is the problem?" manager Anilesh Shelar said.

He admitted that his staff responded to telephone orders with "Welcome, BBC".

"It's just a way of responding. Our customers love it," Mr Shelar said.

India has many other examples of BBC copycats - there are English coaching classes and at least one local brick company is called BBC.

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