JDW threatens legal action over meal deal copyright

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

Picture provided by Wetherspoons
Picture provided by Wetherspoons

Related tags: Greene king, Copyright infringement, Greene king pub

JD Wetherspoon has threatened to take legal action against competitors including Stonegate, Greene King, Whitbread and Mitchells & Butlers over meal deals which it says are infringing its copyright.

Wetherspoons cited examples include Stonegate advertising a ‘Beer & Burger’ offer using the “exact description which is the subject of a Wetherspoon trademark.” JDW says Stongegate removed the offer once the infringement of the trademark was drawn to its attention.

The company said: “Greene King also infringed Wetherspoon’s trademark by copying exactly the working of its ‘Deli Deal.’ Greene King also withdrew the offer once the infringement was pointed out.

“Whitbread’s Premier Inn also recently started promoting a ‘Curry Club’ also infringing Wetherspoon’s trademark and it is believed they have now removed this offer, following a warning from Wetherspoon lawyers.

“In the latest example, M&B has started using the words ‘Steak Club’ for its Miller and Carter chain and also ‘Chicken Club’ for its Sizzling Pub Company.”

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “It is rather pitiful when large companies like those mentioned use the exact wording for their marketing activity which has been running at Wetherspoon pubs for many years.

“These trademarks have been granted to Wetherspoon because there is a risk that the public is fooled into believing that these offers are being made by Wetherspoon or connected to Wetherspoon.

“You would think that these competitors would be able to come up with their own ideas, but they are obviously struggling. I was gobsmacked the other day to walk past a Greene King pub, which is the nearest pub to my house to discover they are running a ‘Fish Friday.’

“This was a name invented by Wetherspoon employees at a meeting I attended and the same is true of all the other offers which are protected by trademarks.

“We will unfortunately have to take legal action if these infringements of our trademarks do not cease, but, more importantly the mere fact that competitors are directly copying our offers will be a serious concern for the shareholders of the offending companies.”

Related topics: JD Wetherspoon

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22 comments

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fish friday?

Posted by Kim,

I've been using "fish friday" for 20 years. Can I take legal action against wetherspoons?

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Stealing a march

Posted by david,

All these titles have been properly registered as trademarks with the Intellectual Property Office.

They might well have been terms in common use for ages, but JDW has stolen a march in registering them. Inevitably, having registered them, JDW will want to take issue with any infringement.

Making life as difficult as possible for your competitors by building a brand's profile and strength is part of any business, especially those who know how to use corporate muscle.

It's open for anyone else to create alternative titles and trademark them.

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fish friday

Posted by gary,

Didn't litten tree's chain whilst still owned by sfi do a steak club deal in late 90's & on the note of fish surely Christian faith has dibs on that haha!

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