A Chicago-based company is getting push back from some Native Hawaiians for suing other shops from using Aloha in its name.
Aloha Poke Holdings LLC has accused other poke shops of infringing on its name.
Today, a petition went up on Change.org saying the action by Aloha Poke is infringing on the Native Hawaiian culture.
In a few hours, the petition had been signed by more than 600 people and the petitions goal was doubled from 500 to 1,000 signatures.
“Aloha Poke Co is a Midwest based restaurant that has aggressively threatened Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) families with legal action for the use of the word “Aloha” in their business or social media,” the petition reads. “Not only are they capitalizing on an Indigenous traditional dish that they have no rights to, but they also have the gall to try and bar our own people from using a word in our language that has deep cultural meaning and symbolism. A language that up until 1987 was illegal in schools in Hawaii.”
A shop in Washington State was forced last year to change its name from Aloha Poke to Fairhaven Poke after getting a cease and desist order.
“It has been brought to our attention from “Aloha Poke Holdings LLC.” in Chicago IL that we have been infringing on their business name,” said Fairhaven Poke on Facebook. “Zach Friedlander, the owner of Aloha Poke Co., has aggressive plans for expansion and is trying to exploit and capitalize on the recent popularity of poke. He filed for and was granted a registered trademark patent on the words “Aloha Poke” shortly after we opened last year.”
Friedlander dismisses the concerns expressed by some.
“This really just comes down to business and protecting the Aloha Poke Co. entity,” Friedlander said in Chicago Eater. “When we see other poke places doing well across the country, we’re elated because it means that this isn’t just a trend — it’s a movement.”
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