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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Soul star Smokey sued over gumbo
Smokey Robinson
Robinson has had hits like Tears of a Clown and Being With You
Motown star Smokey Robinson is being sued for trademark infringement by a chef over the singer's use of "Soul is in the Bowl" for his gumbo stew range.

Louisiana cook Johnny "Jambalaya" Percle said his "Soul in Yo Bowl" catchphrase had been a trademark since 1997 after years of use.

Starting action in a US federal court last week, Mr Percle said the two phrases could confuse customers.

"I truly believe by all legal rights, 'Soul in the Bowl' is mine, not his."

Name wrangle

Mr Percle said: "If he would have called it Smokey Robinson's Gumbo, he wouldn't have heard boo from Johnny Jam."

Robinson and his firm SFGL Foods started selling Smokey Robinson's Soul in the Bowl in January.

Mr Percle, who once cooked for his adversary in New Orleans, said he had been told about the singer's catchphrase by a friend who wanted to know if it was a collaboration between the soul star and the chef.

Steve Sherman, a spokesman for SFGL Foods, said he knew about the legal action but added: "I have not personally had an opportunity to review the complaint yet - it doesn't sound like something that has merit."

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