The Hobbit and a dispute over the name
Written by Michael Coyle on 14 March 2012« Return to Reading Room
Lawdit and the Hobbit Southampton make the headlines.
The Hobbit pub and Lawdit Solicitors were both in the news yesterday. Lawdit appeared on both BBC Radio yesterday morning and ITV's local news tonight over the well known watering hole in Southampton, the Hobbit. The pub received a cease and desist letter from Californian producer the Saul Zaentz Company.
We have not seen the letter but presume it is the usual cease and desist demanding the publican Stella Roberts from using any references to the JRR Tolkien classic. The book was written in the 1930s. Saul Zaentz has a trade mark registered for the Hobbit. Whilst the use of the Hobbit pub predates any references to the trade mark which I think was in 2007, there does seem to be an issue over copyright and passing off.
The pub which is an excellent establishment where we have spent many happy an hour has been using its name for over twenty years. It therefore seems to be in a strong position to prevent Saul from forcing it to remove its name. However where the pub is on a sticky wicket concerns its use of Lord of the Rings themed cocktails, and interior artwork. Ms Roberts told the Southern Daily Echo "We just haven't got the resources to fight it. How can I take on a multi-million pound power?"
If only we had Gandalf on standby by. He would fix it.
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