Keep the Bite in Your Brand – Remember to Protect Your IP!
Trade marks are and have always been invaluable in maintaining the lustre of your brands and protecting them against inappropriate use by others. In one recent example, the owner of a luxury restaurant won an injunction against a dog food company that traded under a similar name.
The restaurant had traded successfully for 15 years, building up a well-heeled clientele, including many celebrities, and turning over about £14 million annually. Its name and logo were protected by UK and EU trade marks. Its owner launched infringement proceedings against the dog food company after the restaurant’s title was incorporated in the latter’s publicity material and web domain name.
The dog food company argued that there was nothing unpleasant about its high-end products, which bore such appetising titles as braised pork and cheesy mash, and that there was no real risk of confusion amongst the restaurant’s clientele. In putting forward a so-called “own name” defence, it argued that its business had been christened after its managing director’s own dog!
In rejecting the dog food company’s submission, however, the High Court observed that the dog was neither a party to the proceedings, a natural person nor a company. Upholding the restaurant owner’s claim, the Court noted the inherent tension between dog food and human food of any type, particularly that which was served in a high-quality restaurant. Such an association would tarnish the image or reputation that the restaurant had established over many years.
The Court concluded that the restaurant owner’s attempt to make the dog food company change its name was unjustified. However, it issued an injunction requiring the dog food company to cease using the restaurant’s name in connection with its dog food products anywhere in the UK or Europe.
Woodfines has experts on hand who can ensure your intellectual property is protected so that you, like this restaurant, can succeed in enforcing your rights, and protecting your brand. Call us to discuss your needs, and we’ll ensure you get the advice you need.
If you want more information, please contact John Yatchisin on 01234 270600 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org