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February 02, 2017

Wawa suing Dawa Food Mart in New Jersey for trademark infringement

Owner explains store's name comes from Korean word for 'welcome'

Lawsuits Trademarks
020217_DawaFoodMart Source/Google Street View

Dawa Food Mart in Paterson, New Jersey.

As Wawa continues its U.S. expansion the company that came from relatively humble roots in Delaware County has grown fiercely protective of its beloved brand.

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That means even the slightest hint of encroachment now warrants the attention of Wawa's legal team, which is not very happy with a certain rhyming establishment in Paterson, New Jersey.

According to The Courier-Post, Wawa has filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against Dawa Food Mart, located at 15 Lafayette Street in Paterson, Passaic County.

The Korean owner of Dawa Food Mart, identified only as Han in the report, explained to the Courier-Post that "Dawa" means "welcome" in his native language. The shop has been open for about two years now.

Wawa spokeswoman Lori Bruce told the newspaper that the lawsuit is about fulfilling an "obligation to protect consumers from any likelihood of confusion" and protecting "the brand name," symbolized by the Canada goose whose name is a direct translation from the Native American language used in the region.

Dawa Food Mart sells a full menu of sandwiches, breakfasts, pizza and pastas, most of which don't bear any obvious resemblance to items on Wawa's menu.

As for Wawa, the company now operates more than 700 stores in five states and has become a cultural fixture everywhere the goose has traveled. In the past, the company has sued Baltimore-based Wawa Tours and Fort Lee-based Wawa Games, winning both legal challenges in short order.

The lawsuit against Dawa Food Mart was filed in federal court in Camden.