Essex restaurant sign falls foul of Harrods copyright

28 May 2010 by
Essex restaurant sign falls foul of Harrods copyright

A copyright dispute between an Essex restaurant and London department store Harrods represents a "classic example of a small business not being aware of trademark laws", according to an industry expert.

Mark Kingsley-Williams, co-founder of brand protection company Trade Mark Direct, warned that operators must check possible copyright issues affecting the names and signage of their businesses.

The call comes after department store Harrods requested that Hollands Café Lounge in Witham, Essex, change its signage as it bears too close a resemblance to its own logo.

The café, which opened four months ago, has been given until Monday to change its signage to avoid legal action.

"Examination of the Hollands Café Lounge sign will reveal that the script is extremely similar to our copyrighted Harrods logo and could, therefore, wrongly suggest some association between our organisations," spokesperson for Harrods said.

"We feel it is fair and appropriate that they should take some simple steps to remedy this copyright infringement."

Nigel Holland, owner of the restaurant, said that the demands are "wholly unreasonable" and that the cost of changing the signage, along with menus and its website, could exceed £10,000 and put him out of business.

Kingsley-Williams told Caterersearch that Holland made a mistake common among small businesses. "It may seem over the top but it highlights a serious issue, of which many small businesses are unaware of the implications," he said.

"The costs of ensuring a business's name or logo] is not too similar to copyrighted names can be anything up to £500, but in light of the cost of changing restaurant and website branding at a later date, it is a small outlay."

The internet law that spells trouble >>

Operators urged to fight Digital Economy Act switch-off threat >>

Trademark disputes >>

By Tom Vaughan

E-mail your comments to Caterer News here.

If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to jobs
Looking for a new job? Find your next restaurant job here with jobs

[Blogs on]( Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
[Newsletters For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail newsletters.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking