La Tasca takes court action over its double

01 January 2000
La Tasca takes court action over its double

THE La Tasca Spanish tapas bar and restaurant chain has forced a small Dundee bar to stop using its name.

Managing director of the chain Neil Gatt was notified about the bar by a customer seeking to settle an argument with a friend.

He wanted to know if the La Tasca bar, which opened on 23 July in Commercial Street, Dundee, was part of the chain.

Gatt visited the premises to warn the company that it must cease using the name within four days. When it failed to respond, Gatt applied for a court order which forced the bar to drop the name a week after Gatt's visit.

Gatt also claimed that the decor mimicked that in his restaurants, including using the name in tiles behind the bar.

In 1997, a Leeds restaurant with the same name and decor as La Tasca was forced to close following legal action that took eight months and cost £20,000.

John Muir, a lawyer for the Dundee pub, said it had been "an honest mistake" as there were no other La Tasca branches in Scotland.

He said the name, which means the Tavern, was common in Spain and seen as generic by one manager, who is Spanish.

He added that most of the decor had been inherited, while the orange/yellow paint was a current fashion.

He said the managers had been angered by the speed of the action, claiming no lawyer's letters had been provided before the writ arrived.

The bar now refers to itself as the Pub With No Name, said Muir. He added that the incident highlighted the importance of searching for registered names before choosing one.

La Tasca is seeking legal costs, which Gatt estimated to be about £3,000-£4,000.

by Angela Frewin

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