Dishoom in legal battle over cockney rhyming slang for curry

The restaurant group wants the trademarked phrase 'Ruby Murray' to be freed up for anyone to use - here's everything we know about the case so far.

Updated on • Written By Ellie Donnell

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Dishoom in legal battle over cockney rhyming slang for curry

Indian restaurant chain Dishoom is currently in the throes of a legal battle over its right to use the name ‘Ruby Murray’ to describe its famous chicken curry.

The term was registered under the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) as a food and drink trademark by London businessman Tariq Aziz in 2019. However, Dishoom's lawyers have applied to the IPO to revoke Aziz of his monopoly over the term.

The phrase Ruby Murray started to be used as cockney rhyming slang for curry in the 60s, inspired by a 1950’s singer of the same name.


It’s also become synonymous with Irani cafe restaurant Dishoom, who have used the term Ruby Murray to describe its signature ‘Chicken Ruby’ curry dish since opening.

The restaurant group’s lawyers want the term to be revoked as a trademarked phrase because they believe it has never been used for commercial purposes.

A spokesperson for Dishoom said: ‘A third party has a trademark registration for Ruby Murray and we don’t believe that they have ever used it.

‘There is a principle of "use or lose it" in trademark law and we have therefore asked the UK IPO to remove the ’Ruby Murray’ mark from the register.

'Dishoom is not seeking to apply to register ’Ruby Murray’ in its own name; it wishes to remove the ’monopoly’ on the use of ’Ruby Murray’ so it can be used freely by anyone when referring to curry.'

However, Aziz reportedly refused the application, claiming that he is using the name for a food premises in Islington and does not want the trademark to be revoked.

He said: 'We have a premises in Islington, north London, called Ruby Murray. It’s closed for refurbishment at the moment, but will reopen soon’.

Dishoom filed the application on the 15 May. Aziz has until the 15 July to inform the IPO if he wishes to defend his right to the trademark. Otherwise it will be removed from the register.

Is Dishoom one of your favourite restaurants? Discover even more brilliant Indian restaurants in London with our ultimate list

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