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L&L faces legal action over saimin burger

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 05:10 p.m. HST, Feb 03, 2014

The brother of ramen burger founder Keizo Shimamoto is contemplating legal action against L&L Drive-Inn, he has told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The island-based quick-service restaurant with company-owned and franchised restaurants in Hawaii, across the mainland, and in other countries, announced plans to launch its own version, called a saimin burger, last week.

L&L also has emailed a newsletter containing a promotional poster for the burger to its franchisees, which will be called a ramen burger at mainland L&L locations, as well as a video of Jeff Shimamoto's appearance on Hawaii News Now's "Sunrise" program promoting his brother's original product.

Jeff Shimamoto, who was in the islands to promote sales of his brother's burger in January, is also an attorney who has contacted Hawaii attorneys to explore possible legal action claiming personal misappropriation of his likeness by L&L to promote its own product.

Keizo Shimamoto applied for a trademark for the ramen burger and his company-branded Go Ramen Burger on Aug. 2, 2013, and the latter was published for opposition by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office on Jan. 21.

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Skyler wrote:
Knew this would happen as soon as I saw L&L's announcement. Too close for comfort to let it slide (read: too much money involved).
on February 3,2014 | 03:51PM
Rite80 wrote:
My idea is to place fried saimin in between two burgers and call it burger saimin. Before anyone get any ideas I will be applying for a patent.
on February 3,2014 | 06:55PM
MoTown808 wrote:
Sue ʻem!
on February 3,2014 | 03:51PM
st1d wrote:
it's not like it's a secret sauce or a cola recipe. it's fried ramen noodles.
on February 3,2014 | 03:54PM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Exactly. It does say that Keizo registered a trademark, but L&L is calling it a saimin burger. So, his brother is filing the lawsuit for using his likeness (which seems like a valid claim) and not because they're selling a similar product, correct?
on February 3,2014 | 04:19PM
cojef wrote:
Ramen and Saimin are made differently so the suit may be questionable. Of course I'm no lawyer so??
on February 3,2014 | 05:06PM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Even if L&L were to sell a ramen burger, wouldn't the only part of it that might be protected be the method to create the "buns" from ramen? Any attorneys slumming it in the SA message boards able to help us out?
on February 3,2014 | 05:46PM
tigerwarrior wrote:
Agreed. For one thing it's being touted as a "Saimin Burger" not a "Ramen Burger" and another thing is that it will probably be a cheap knockoff of the Ramen Burger--perhaps being sold for around half the price of the original.
on February 3,2014 | 06:19PM
iwanaknow wrote:
I believe there will be an out of court settlement and the records will be sealed so we won't know what really happened and the lawyers will be smilin' all the way to the bank.
on February 3,2014 | 04:21PM
Jerry_D wrote:
on February 3,2014 | 05:12PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
It's a burger. One is ramen bun the other saimin bun. Silly. How about the original cake noodle with meat on top? Geez.
on February 3,2014 | 04:27PM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Hilarious. That's what I thought of the first time I saw this burger in the news. I just figured he took a cookie cutter to ramen cake noodle.
on February 3,2014 | 05:48PM
sailfish1 wrote:
The possible lawsuit is not because L&L created a "ramen burger". Shimamoto is "claiming personal misappropriation of his likeness by L&L to promote its own product".
on February 3,2014 | 04:49PM
Jerry_D wrote:
I believe the author of this article inadvertently used words that mis-defined the actual use of Shimamoto's image. First of all, L&L Drive In is NOT a franchise...each outlet is independently owned and need not follow a uniform way of doing things. Yet, the author incorrectly refers to "franchisees." My point being, how does one fit a "promotional poster" into a "newsletter" as stated by the author of this article? I don't think Shimamoto's image was used for public marketing or promotion at all; rather, it was used for information and training...perhaps in a full-page newsletter insert (not a "poster") letting the other L&L owners know that there's this new concept Eddie Flores saw on TV and would like them to try out.
on February 3,2014 | 05:11PM
on February 3,2014 | 04:54PM
Jerry_D wrote:
Funny you should say that, considering that owner Eddie Flores is half Chinese...
on February 3,2014 | 05:02PM
boshio wrote:
Absolutely, L&L is greedy AND desperate and has no business to copy other success.
on February 3,2014 | 05:03PM
Jerry_D wrote:
Welcome to the world of business, buddy, where EVERY successful idea is copied! lol And that's the beauty of America..."'copying" others' successful ideas ensures no monopolies exist and, in the end, it is us consumers who benefit from people copying other people as the producers will not only improve on their recipes (in order to remain competitive with each other), but also lower their prices (more suppliers translate to lower prices). If copying successful ideas was discouraged (ie. via this lawsuit), America would turn into another socialist USSR (which, thanks Obama and his cronies on the Left, we seem to be headed that way). I wish Eddie Flores and L&L Drive In the best of luck, for OUR sake!
on February 3,2014 | 05:19PM
tigerwarrior wrote:
Just think, If what you were saying were not true than Liliha Bakery would sue every bakery that sold anything resembling their world renowned Cocoa Puffs.
on February 3,2014 | 06:35PM
Jerry_D wrote:
on February 3,2014 | 06:45PM
niceynicey wrote:
No, Shimamoto is greedy.
on February 3,2014 | 06:57PM
Jerry_D wrote:
Weak, at best. A concept (ie. "ramen burger") can neither be trademarked nor patented. And the term "ramen" is public domain, as is the term "burger"; therefore, "ramen burger" cannot be owned just as "tuna sandwich" cannot be owned. Furthermore, even the use and circulation of Jeff Shimamoto's image is not an encroachment on Go Ramen Burger's rights, since (1) it is actually a third-party's (Hawaii News Now) video that was (2) created and aired for ANYBODY'S viewing, and it's use within the L&L network was (3) for informational and training purposes, not for marketing. But then again, I'm not a lawyer...
on February 3,2014 | 04:58PM
tigerwarrior wrote:
Cocoa Puffs--anyone?
on February 3,2014 | 06:42PM
kainalu wrote:
... and ... so what about Tanaka Saimin's "Saimin Burger" - the EXACT same thing.
on February 3,2014 | 05:11PM
kiragirl wrote:
Recipes cannot be patented. If L&L uses the same ingredients, it is legal. So what is the illegal part?
on February 3,2014 | 05:21PM
sanoname wrote:
just use better stuff invite me call it cake noodle burger fried cake noodle don't let the moB get this or the drug dealers hahaha
on February 3,2014 | 05:31PM
st1d wrote:
i want an onomanapua cheeseburger.
on February 3,2014 | 05:47PM
mosquito1210 wrote:
the state of hawaii and the world has some many more problems , we are fighting over a ramen burger ,Mcdonalds is the only u. s. state that sells spam for breakfast ,I dont see anyone suing mickey d. people get a grip.
on February 3,2014 | 05:48PM
kahu808 wrote:
They're actually territories, but Guam and American Samoa have Spam and egg breakfast platters as well.
on February 3,2014 | 06:06PM
false wrote:
I'd settle for a "loco moco" burger with meat, eggs, gravy between two crisp rice patties.
on February 3,2014 | 06:00PM
NieleHK wrote:
You gotta LOVE a burger battle, hold the pickles and bring on the secret sauce! And how's about lies with that?
on February 3,2014 | 06:00PM
Papakolea wrote:
This should be interesting. The video of Jeff Shimamoto promoting his brother's ramen burger was posted on the internet by KHNL so it's in the public domain. It seems pretty foolish of L&L to begin distributing the video instead of making its own. But at the same time, Jeff Shimamoto doesn't own that video and it was never used to publicly advertise the L&L saimin burger. Should be an interesting case.
on February 3,2014 | 06:05PM
eoe wrote:
Oh wah, I want to come here and rely on the SA to give me free publicity and have ridiculous little events where mo-rons line up around the block for hours to eat my food but I will sue anyone who wants to actually sell the burger.
on February 3,2014 | 06:19PM
tigerwarrior wrote:
Heck, when I was a teenager I used to boil Ichiban Saimin, drain out all the liquid, then pan fry it until it achieved the consistency of cake noodles. Then I would add a thin slice of teriyaki flavored Spam and a layer of sticky rice on top. I've just got a great idea. I'll copyright my invention and call it the Spamin Musubi. Anyone who decides to sell anything resembling my culinary masterpiece will be sued for intellectual property infringement LOL!
on February 3,2014 | 06:28PM
XML808 wrote:
I kine they way you think. I think I'll make a spam ramen musubi - a piece of teri span between two thin layers of fried ramen wrapped in Nori. Then I'll make a deep-fried katsu version of it. Then a puffs version. The possibilities are endless.....
on February 3,2014 | 07:41PM
agumakiki wrote:
The war of the burgers ramen vs saimin dis should be very interesting
on February 3,2014 | 08:11PM
awahana wrote:
I will sell my rights to the highest bidder for my latest creation.
I have hamburger and bread noodles inside of a bowl with broth, and it's the Burger Ramen.
You can also Super Size it, and add a side of Ramen Fries.
Please line up now.
on February 3,2014 | 08:41PM
WalkoffBalk wrote:
I want to sue Jeff Shimamoto for emotional damage as it's killing me inside thinking of them ramen burgers.
on February 3,2014 | 09:23PM
justmythoughtshmmmm wrote:
What about Tanaka Saimin, who has been making them for awhile now?
on February 3,2014 | 09:53PM
gmejk wrote:
What a misleading headline!
on February 3,2014 | 10:20PM
2024 wrote:
What an LA Lawyer thing to do.
on February 3,2014 | 10:21PM
cen321 wrote:
So there may be many places that will create the same thing...don't tell me that you will sue them as well.
on February 3,2014 | 11:48PM
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