Fake Tim Hortons spotted in South Korea: Tim House
'Tim House,' the fake Tim Hortons is seen in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday, March 12, 2015. (A.J. Specht)
Josh Dehaas, CTV News
Published Monday, March 16, 2015 4:47PM EDT
Canadian expatriate A.J. Specht was biking in Seoul last week when she saw a neon sign with a coffee mug logo and ‘Tim House’ written in a familiar red font.
For a moment, she thought Tim Hortons had arrived in South Korea, and was just using a slightly different name.
“I remembered seeing Tim Hortons in Maine back in 2008, but the name and logo had been changed to Tim's Bake Shop or something,” says the English teacher, who is originally from Bracebridge, Ont.
Indeed, Tim Hortons brands some locations ‘Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop.’
“I thought, is this another one of those legitimate incarnations?” says Specht. “Then I realized it was just a rip-off.”
Specht posted a photo of the restaurant, which is near Daerim subway station, to her Facebook page. Her fellow Canadians found it amusing.
Tim Hortons is less amused.
“We’re thrilled that the Tim Hortons brand is loved and recognized around the world, but we’re always vigilant when it comes to protecting our intellectual property, especially as we expand internationally,” says Michelle Robichaud, director of public affairs.
“Although we are not currently operating in South Korea, we will continue to take the necessary steps to protect our trademarks,” she adds.
Specht says knockoffs of foreign brands, including Canada Goose parkas, are common in South Korea. “If I had a dollar for every Canada Goose knock-off I saw, I would be a very rich woman,” she adds.
But Specht is not disappointed about “Tim House.”
“I can't stand Tim's coffee,” she says.
Tim Hortons, which recently merged with Burger King in a takeover by Restaurant Brands International Inc., has approximately 4,500 restaurants. Most are in Canada and the U.S., but there are also some stores overseas, including in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.