Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Chef Loses Restaurant Battle To Jay-Z
Imagine the confusion. It could happen to anyone. You pay millions to global rap star Jay-Z to perform at your celebrity-studded wedding and then an outdoor catering firm from Newcastle turns up instead.
What would your guests say, let alone your in-laws? How could you live with the embarrassment? And how could you ever stop such a dangerously likely event from ruining your big day?
Well, it’s exactly for this reason that the UK’s Intellectual Property Office has ruled in favour of Jay-Z in his battle with Tyneside chef Terry Miller to stop this devastating catastrophe ever happening.
The pair have been wrangling since 2006 after the American rapper’s music label Roc-A-Fella Records launched a writ against Miller’s Rockafella restaurant in Newcastle, claiming it breached its trademark rights.
Originally, Miller, winner of the Hell’s Kitchen reality show in 2005, won a ruling granting him a trademark for his Rockafella restaurant and food catering firm that gave him exclusive rights to its use in the UK.
Roc-A-Fella Records brought in heavyweight lawyers from London-based Forrester Ketley & Co to fight its case, claiming that people would be confused into thinking the two enterprises were somehow connected. (I’m not sure what sort of people they were talking about – perhaps people that appear on the Jeremy Kyle show.)
Now, surprise, surprise, the US label’s appeal has been largely upheld at a hearing in London. The bad news for Miller is he will now have to change the name of his outside catering business. The good news is he can use it for his restaurant, which he opened with his £250,000 Hell’s Kitchen winnings, even though it closed in October 2008.
In her judgement, Professor Ruth Annand said the original IP Office case manager was wrong to say the two names would not clash as a record label’s live entertainment events were not dissimilar to the catering trade.
But IP Office expert Oliver Morris said in his original ruling, which is now overturned: “There is a large degree of dissimilarity between restaurant and catering services on the one hand and the services relating to record production on the other.”
Funny how experts can disagree. (By the way, in case you’re confused, the internationally famous music star Jay-Z is pictured top, and Miller is pictured second next to Gary ‘Twat’ Rhodes. And in case you’re confused further, Rhodes is the one with hair.)