Copyright violation: Bombay Bakery’s top secret recipe leaked

Published: August 7, 2014
Ex-employee Abdul Waheed Ghori baked the cakes and sold them in the bakery’s traditional box. CREATIVE COMMONS

Ex-employee Abdul Waheed Ghori baked the cakes and sold them in the bakery’s traditional box. CREATIVE COMMONS

HYDERABAD: For over a hundred years the secret recipes that made the Bombay Bakery an unrivalled confectionery business stayed carefully guarded with its owners and a few bakers.

But the cat has gone out of the bag. A century after it was founded by the late Pahlajrai Gangaram Thandani, the secret has been leaked. A 65-year-old Abdul Waheed Ghori – a former employee at the establishment – walked off with the formula. He later baked the cakes at a rented bakery and sold them in the Bombay Bakery’s traditional box.

The Bombay Bakery discovered this copyright violation seven months later and had Ghori arrested on Tuesday night.

“I used to prepare around 40 cakes daily and sold them on the highways,” Ghori told The Express Tribune. He was arrested, along with two other suspects, from Sarfaraz Colony area after the Bakery’s owner Sonu Kumar Thadani filed a complaint against him.

According to SHO Aijaz Lakho, the suspect prepared the cakes at a substandard bakery and had the cake boxes printed from a local printer named Sajjad, who was also apprehended. He added that the suspect was assisted in the production and sale by his son Muhammad Usman Ghori.

“When the owner of Bombay Bakery tasted the cakes, he was amazed by their similarity with the original cakes,” a policeman told The Express Tribune.

The bakery owner was surprised because Ghori had merely worked as a cleaner in the bakery. The suspect had revealed that he learnt the art long before he quit the job.

“My late uncle Salman was a baker in the Bombay Bakery. Though I never made anything in the bakery, I began to acquire the skill from him,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th,2014.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Logitech
    Aug 7, 2014 - 10:07AM

    +1 thumbs up if your favourite Bombay Bakery cake is their Macaroon cake.


  • Karachi Mirchi
    Aug 7, 2014 - 11:07AM

    What’s the Recipe????

    O.K., I am just kidding. Glad, justice is served and the copycat was apprehended. Just don’t release him by taking bhatta. Send him away for a long time.


  • Ajamal
    Aug 7, 2014 - 12:08PM

    Why is it a crime? He worked at the bakery and learned the art. All of us learn things at one place and apply our experience later in the life.


  • Imran Qadri
    Aug 7, 2014 - 12:25PM

    Do they have registered their copyright with relevant authority? or just because Bombay bakery owners had connections with highups so they got their poor ex worker arrested?

    If they don’t have a document proving their ownership of “copyright” of recipe and packaging design then ex worker is well within his right to prepare cake,merely just coz his cake taste like Bombay bakery’s cake doesn’t mean he should be arrested.


  • Akbar
    Aug 7, 2014 - 1:00PM

    I love their coffee cake. I remember visiting them and saw a long queue that too early morning. Bombay Bakery rocks !! They should have expanded.


  • ayesha
    Aug 7, 2014 - 1:30PM

    We Pakistanis have to have amazing brains if we can think up of ways to work around the system and profit from it. Imagine if all of that is harnessed towards positive development. On the other hand love Bombay Bakery’s coffee cake though.


  • nirmal
    Aug 7, 2014 - 1:35PM

    I learned skills from my previous employer and applying them in new job. Are they gonna arrest me


  • amina
    Aug 7, 2014 - 2:08PM

    Waiting for the recipe to go viral…


  • Umer
    Aug 7, 2014 - 2:09PM

    I just had a CAKE from Bombay Bakery, Hyderabad. :)


  • umer
    Aug 7, 2014 - 2:13PM

    Why u r missing the point tht the cleaner sold the cakes in bombay bakery’s traditional boxes, further he prepared the cakes in a sub standard bakery he culd also be arrested on the grounds of selling unhygenic food.


  • ASalman
    Aug 7, 2014 - 2:29PM

    He sold cakes in the boxes with the name of Bombay Bakers which was unlawful otherwise baking the cake is no crime


  • Ali T.
    Aug 7, 2014 - 2:43PM

    I don’t think that the problem here is the Recipe. The problem is that he was selling the cakes in the Bakery’s box and generally the Company Name and branding is a Trademark. One recent example in Rawalpindi/Islamabad was when Rahat Bakers had to change their name to Tehzeeb because that was copyright infringement.


  • Aug 7, 2014 - 2:46PM

    The use of the same design as Bombay Bakery’s boxes might be a copyright issue, but the recipe likely isn’t. The recipe’s probably a “trade secret,” which is a different legal term:


  • asd
    Aug 7, 2014 - 2:48PM

    he should have started a new business in competition with Bombay Bakery.


  • Shayan
    Aug 7, 2014 - 3:22PM

    Selling with the same name is crime, he should had some other name.


  • anonymous
    Aug 7, 2014 - 3:41PM

    The thadani family has lost their stand-out now, they do not provide the better quality cakes, over-buttered, dry chocolate, sometimes high sugar n sometimes low baked. Whatever the person was doing, at least he served with a great taste alongwith all qualities. Thadani family must hire him for their betterment though as there are now many rivals in hyderabad and they do not now possess that high calliber status :)

    Just an advice. Hope you will not like it but its bitter truth.Recommend

  • Aug 7, 2014 - 4:04PM

    The cakes made in Bombay Bakery are unique of its kind. They are delicious in taste. Copying the name and recipe won’t make him better than the original owner.


  • chikoo
    Aug 7, 2014 - 4:05PM

    i wonder if there’s a religious angle to this story…Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Aug 7, 2014 - 5:57PM

    @Imran Qadri: Erm, I think the copyright violation was the fact that the cakes were sold in a FAKE bombay bakery box, I’d think the ex-worker would have been fully under his rights to sell the cakes he made, just under a different name.


  • dr.saba
    Aug 7, 2014 - 7:15PM

    Its not bad to learn.. his mistake is to copyright.. but nothing else.. give him apportunity to establish his own work with any other name.. simple.. we should,nt make it issue..


  • Ehsan
    Aug 7, 2014 - 8:12PM

    @Imran Qadri: I’m a lawyer and I would just like to clarify that a copyright doesn’t need to be registered anywhere to be enforced that is a huge misconception. On the other hand a trademark and a patent need to be registered. One may argue that since this is a technique it comes within patents. So, even if a copyright is not registered, one is not within their rights to steal it.


  • Col Malik 55
    Aug 7, 2014 - 9:41PM

    Indeed there is no match to the cacks of Bomby Bakery Hyderabad. The Shop in a bunglow. I have had the pleasure of having it since last 48 years and use to wnt er as to why it can not be made by anyone else. Had some one tries honestly the code could have been broken through hard practice and users feed back rather than stealing the code.

    Anyways ! Since the cat is out of the bag now it should be seen that the bakery management had any kind of paper or contract signed from all its employees for not using their learning anywhere else throughout their life. If so they are justified in getting hold of the violator BUT I have a strong feeling that it must have been the case bcz no employer can bound anyone for unlimited period to keep the secrets. Yes it is only acceptable if such knowledge is used against the country’s intrest or for any terrorist activity.

    Less these two things and in the absence of any contract which had not been registered I personally feel it should not be done the way it is being done.

    However enquiring agencies and our courts have the jourisdictionto decide.




  • Israr
    Aug 7, 2014 - 9:54PM

    @Ajamal: the crime was using their brand name, copy right violation is a crime


  • Sasha
    Aug 7, 2014 - 11:03PM

    Did you not read the part about him having Bombay bakery boxes made and selling the cakes in those boxes? That is why this is a crime. And also he was preparing the cakes in an un hygenic environment. I suggest you read the article again to see why he was arrested.


  • Aug 8, 2014 - 12:15PM

    simply love the cakes … they should expand at least 1 branch in Karachi ..


  • goldconsumer
    Aug 8, 2014 - 1:10PM

    As a true Pakistani i feel obligated to ask how many “cakes” did this bakery wala sent to our always ready to help Police officials?? You arrest a guy because of copy rights issues! You got to be kidding me here in Pakistan man!


  • chikoo
    Aug 8, 2014 - 1:44PM

    the so called “poor ex worker” stole the recipe and profited from it at the expense of the original bakery owners. simple. but since he was essentially stealing from a non-muslim, its perfectly OK, isn’t it?Recommend

  • chikoo
    Aug 8, 2014 - 1:44PM

    the so called “poor ex worker” stole the recipe and profited from it at the expense of the original bakery owners. simple. but since he was essentially stealing from a non-muslim, its perfectly OK, isn’t it?


  • Aug 8, 2014 - 2:58PM

    They need to cut off his hands and broadcast it LIVE.


  • wasif
    Aug 8, 2014 - 4:32PM

    for everyone posting comments like they have applied past learning experience to current job must read the article carefully which says He used to print the boxes and sell them with the name of Bombay bakery… thats a crime!!Recommend

  • sharabi
    Aug 8, 2014 - 5:37PM

    I am working in an Indian MNC which have unique Crystallization Technology for Fatty Acids, it takes INR 170 m, 42 Engineers & 2.5 years to develop,test & patent the prototype skid mounted plant.
    Alone by this R&D Company is beating the Germans and Chinese.
    You will be amaze to hear we have a huge order from Pakistan itself
    Now assume if i can go out all those Drawings, Data, Soft Programs etc then who will invest in R&D?


  • Ahmed
    Aug 8, 2014 - 7:02PM

    man their coffee cakes are the best, i would still buy them from Bombay bakery, no matter where else they were sold.


  • Talha Rizvi
    Aug 8, 2014 - 9:08PM

    @sharabi: No body asked your opinion. Indian troll who pretends to be a muslim.
    You Indians really are extremely biased and filled to the brim with anti-Islamic prejudices.Recommend

  • Aug 8, 2014 - 10:36PM

    lets assume one typist is typing a thesis of a PhD student. We say that he learned himself during the typing and then he types again the same thesis and submit that thesis to university and gets doctorate himself. Will that be ok ?


  • NA
    Aug 9, 2014 - 3:07AM

    Haha you can’t “copyright” a recipe. Copyright is a legal term. This is what is called a professional secret and there is no legal protection for a professional secret.


  • Professor
    Aug 9, 2014 - 6:51AM

    It is a conspiracy against India and Indians ! The Bombay Bakery recipe is a state secret and miscreants have released it out in the open !! Pakistan is deeply involved in trying to destabilize India yada, yada…


  • Reality
    Aug 9, 2014 - 11:23AM

    What is copy right;

    1- If I produce a Song and making money out of it,
    2- If I design a Dress and making money out of it,
    3- If I develop a Computer Program and making money out of it,

    So, what if someone Sing, Wear or Coded the same Song, Dress or Computer Program for making money for themselves. After all, HUMANS learn from each other, not ALIENS.

    I think Mr. Thandani or Mr. Thadani (mistake of the reporter) should grow-up and leave the FEAR behind.


  • Hina
    Aug 9, 2014 - 9:43PM

    So this guy learnt something on the job and applied his knowledge after he quit. If that’s worthy of arrest, just about everyone should be arrested. These Thandanis, lets boycott them for this nonsense. No Bombay baker for me, ever!


  • Aug 10, 2014 - 4:46AM

    He learnt it that’s okay. Learning is not a crime but since Bombay is registered they can claim it because the guy was using their name on the boxes which is a crime.Recommend

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