A popular adult video site has launched a legal battle with a modest kebab restaurant named Döner Haus in Lower Manhattan.
It’s clear that the food and tech industries are becoming increasingly intertwined — you need only take a look over our review of Sydney’s first AI restaurant to see that — but this isn’t quite the way in which we expected that crossover to develop. Following hot on the heels of New York’s war on pizza, a Manhattan kebab house finds itself in a tussle centred around branding that bears a striking resemblance to Pornhub’s distinct orange-and-black logo…
MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, has recently undergone a rebrand and has taken on a new name, Aylo, signifying its pursuit of a fresh start and a desire to shake off the somewhat lurid connotations that the former brand had developed in recent years. However, the dawn of this new identity has been marred by the company’s decision to take legal action against Döner Haus, a small eatery known for its German take on Turkish kebabs, as reported by Futurism.
The issue came to light when Döner Haus received a cease and desist letter from Aylo, citing concerns about trademark infringement due to the restaurant’s branding similarities. Notably, the logo’s design and colour scheme bears a strong resemblance to Pornhub’s iconic branding, raising eyebrows and triggering debates about the limits of trademark protection. This letter was quickly made public by local outlet Chelsea News, drawing worldwide attention to the case.
Pauline Phan, spokesperson for Döner Haus, expressed bafflement over the legal proceedings:
“We genuinely do not understand why they are coming for us. We serve sandwiches and they offer nothing even close in nutritional value or taste to what we have! We are in two completely different business sectors and we see no way how we can be confused with them.”Pauline Phan
This argument could hold some weight as legal experts highlight the protection of satire under US law. While the restaurant’s logo and messages like “Big Döner Energy” and “Get Stuffed” on its storefront might take a little inspiration from Pornhub’s own messaging, the likelihood of anyone genuinely confusing a well-seasoned sandwich with adult content seems remote.
WATCH: Looking for a cheap lunch without the legal hassle? Try this.
The irony in this dispute hasn’t been lost on observers: Pornhub is notorious for hosting “parody” videos itself, featuring sexual reimaginings on various franchises. The site has also faced criticism for hosting objectionable content and being slow to respond to issues of consent and child abuse. Aylo’s decision to pursue legal action raises questions about the company’s priorities… one wonders whether taking on a small eatery aligns with Aylo’s supposed pursuit of “trust and safety” that senior management touted as central to the rebrand.
The legal wrangle between Aylo and Döner Haus showcases the intricate nuances of intellectual property rights, satire, and the intriguing juxtaposition of a global adult entertainment giant with a local lunch spot. All I know is that next time I head in for a kebab, they can hold the garlic sauce…