Is “Dawa” too close to “Wawa?”
That’s now for a federal judge to decide, as the Wawa Corporation takes tiny Paterson, N.J., convenience store Dawa Food Market to court for trademark infringement.
Wawa Spokesperson Lori Bruce says the corporation tried to contact Dawa Food Market “on multiple occasions to resolve this matter privately and amicably” to no avail.
Mike Han, the owner, says “Dawa” is a Korean greeting. He told the Courier-Post, “Dawa means welcome in my language […] Everybody’s welcome here.”
Competition for the two-syllable name, it seems, isn’t welcome. Wawa, of Wawa, Pa., says Dawa Food Market is infringing on the chain’s name and trademark. The two aren’t that similar on the inside — Dawa, for example, sells “Bronx-style pizza and chicken,” while Wawa sells thousands of hoagie combinations and deep-fried options from touch-screen machines — but that’s not important in a case like this.
What does matter to a court is whether a person could reasonably confuse the two. In this case, Dawa’s goose could be, well, Sizzli’d.
In its logo, Wawa has a trademark goose perched over the name. Dawa, unfortunately, has a leaf in similar place. And Wawa’s won similar suits in the past. The Courier-Post says the company challenged Baltimore-based Wawa Tours in 2010 and Wawa Games of Fort Lee, N.J., in 2011.
They won both cases.