The owner of the two Brazz brasseries in the West Country has won a £15,000 pay-out in an eleventh-hour, out-of-court settlement of a trademark dispute with a Devon café-bar.
Kit Chapman, chief executive of Brazz operator the English Brasserie Company (EBC) and proprietor of the Castle hotel at Taunton, said he was alerted to the alleged trademark infringement in December, a month after the Banx café-bar had opened in Torquay.
EBC claimed that Banx was using its distinctive "B" icon, which has been registered as a trademark, in a way that suggested some connection with Brazz.
"When our lawyers asked them to stop, our claims were rejected," said Chapman. "That left us with little choice but to sue for registered trademark infringement and passing off."
EBC was due to seek a High Court injunction last Tuesday, but reached a settlement with Banx the evening before. The owner of Banx, who declined to comment, agreed to change its advertising style, hand over offending advertising material, and pay EBC £15,000.
Chapman said: "The brand is at a crucial stage in its development with a number of new openings planned over the next 18 months.
"We are not about to allow that position to be jeopardised by anyone."
EBC hopes to have seven to 10 brasseries open by 2005 and is looking at a number of sites within a two-mile drive of the head office in Taunton, including Cardiff, Bristol, Cheltenham, Bournemouth, Poole and Winchester.
by Angela Frewin firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 15-21 March 2001