This week Filemot will be attending the Catey Awards - an event to honour those who work in the
Of late the Hospitality Industry has provided an increasing number of clients to the intellectual property world as the importance of branding to a once- local business activity has become apparent.
One of the biggest issues is "own name" ownership and none fell as hard as CIPRIANI. Thus was a very protracted dispute between the famous (so it was decided) Hotel Cipriani in Venice and the would be Cipriani London in Grosvenor Street that was not even entitled to promote the line that it was "managed by Guiseppe Cipriani" even though it was true. This last fall came in a decision of 29 January 2013 that references the earlier history and explains why DOWNTOWN MAYFAIR is no more.
Today it is the chefs that do business under their own names and hopefully that will continue to mean the chef of that name is behind the stove or at least has seen it. Its good to see that amongst this year's nominees who trade on their name Sat Bains has his business logo registered in his own name.
Andrew Fairlie has at least not permitted anyone else to register his name.
While Cipriani's reputation arose from trade outside the UK, it is usually closer proximity that leads to problems. Even so The IVY in London managed to suppress competition in Glasgow. See the story from January 2013 here and Scotland may yet be another country.
Closer still the Bocabar in Bristol had a dispute with its local neighbour Boca Bistro Café now re-christened Bica Bistro Café. They settled their dispute in October 2013 in passing off in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court a rather more economical forum than the High Court in which Cipriani played and lost thousands if not millions to their lawyers. Even so this Bristol victor suffered criticism over the costs in a December 2013 decision since they had pursued the matter to trial after the name had been changed and the major issue left was costs. As a result the costs awarded were just £10,750 a rather modest sum relative to the actual costs incurred. History does not relate whether there was an enquiry as to damages. However in the final order Bocabar were required to provide supporting evidence for any enquiry "showing that the financial sums proposed to be recovered justify such a procedure." The moral of that tale is that brand owners should be happy to get a result and then lay off their lawyers fast.
The BOCA case also illustrates that it is not enough to register your trademark if its use is going to amount to passing off. The Cafe did have a trade mark registration which was declared invalid in the 2013 judgement but oddly still appears on the register. Nevertheless for all in the hospitality industry having any brand that will be significantly promoted registered is a very worthwhile investment as the costs of dealing with a problem using a registered trade mark are far less than the hurdles of proving a case in passing off and the cost of registering a trademark is modest.
Certainly the house of Filemot is anxious to keep its hospitality clients well away from the courts and costs awards. Awards such as the Cateys are much more welcome.
In the naming of restaurants originality and design is well-rewarded and its good to see that one of the Catey sponsors is the Jersey design house The Idea Works