Italian restaurant frequented by celebrities takes to High Court in battle over ‘Cibo' name

23 January 2023 by
Italian restaurant frequented by celebrities takes to High Court in battle over ‘Cibo' name

The owners of two restaurants in the suburbs of Manchester frequented by celebrities including Ryan Giggs and are suing three restaurants in the city centre in the High Court for using the ‘Cibo' name without consent.

Cibo Hale and Cibo Wilmslow are suing three restaurants in Manchester, called Cibo Manchester, Cibo Liverpool Road, and Cibo Great Northern, and four company directors, in a dispute over trademarks.

Cibo Hale and Cibo Wilmslow, which reported revenue of £4.2m last year, opened in 2016 and 2017 and list celebrity clients in legal documents. These high-profile diners include musician, Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra, Alison Becker, social influencer Molly-Mae Hague, and former Manchester United manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohammed Salah, and boxers, Tyson and Tommy Fury, are also reportedly regulars at Cibo Hale and Cibo Wilmslow, where main courses cost between £18 and £45, the court will hear.

The two Cibo restaurants and its sister company AER Restaurants, which runs the Italian restaurant and takeaway Sasso in Stockport, claim the three restaurants in Manchester and four directors have passed off their businesses as being connected to the original Cibo by using the same name, while also changing the interiors of their restaurants to look similar, in a deliberate campaign to confuse customers. The Liverpool Road restaurant has a similar décor to the original two Cibo restaurants, with tree twigs entangled in fairy lights, brown-yellow chairs, wood effect walls, marble-effect tables, and white ceilings, it will be claimed.

Cibo Hale and Cibo Wilmslow are suing company directors Mohamed Elgouhari, Ahmed Fathalla, Ramy Abdelhamid, and Andrea Battaglini, and say Liverpool Road Leisure, which runs Cibo Manchester and Cibo Liverpool Road, applied to trademark the name Cibo Manchester in November 2020, just 22 days after Cibo's solicitors wrote demanding undertakings that they immediately stop using the name.

Cibo argues the alleged imposters have received far lower rated reviews, which negatively impact Cibo's own reputation and goodwill, and offers discounts of up to 54% while Cibo does not offer discounts, the claim says.

The claim suggests the discount schemes have confused guests, with some customers of the Manchester restaurants arriving at Wilmslow and Hale believing they have booked tables there rather than in Manchester. The claim states some Cibo customers have become upset when they tried to present vouchers for meals, including Groupon and Meerkat Meals, which are not accepted by Cibo, while Cibo has also been invoiced for food purchased by the Manchester restaurant, it is alleged.

Cibo Hale and Cibo Wilmslow have also received complaints from customers of the Manchester eateries.

Cibo Hale and Cibo Wilmslow are also suing the defendants over the Sassu takeaway, which, it is claimed, is very similar to its own takeaway name and branding – Sasso – in what it says is an example of a deliberate campaign to use their signs and branding.

Cibo says it has suffered loss and damage by being wrongly associated with the Manchester Cibo which is taking wrongful advantage of its goodwill and reputation, and is demanding an inquiry into damages for passing off, injunctions requiring them to transfer any Cibo domain name and trade mark, and an order forcing them to supply information relating to the infringing activities.

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