It was recently reported that the owner of one of the LitigationSpy’s favourite London-based restaurants ‘Pho’ (Pho Holdings Limited), contacted a small Vietnamese restaurant in Brockley named ‘Mo Pho’ requiring them to change their name. Pho Holdings, who own the trademarks to ‘Pho’, ‘PHOCAFE’ and ‘PHO TO GO’ were accusing of using bullying tactics to force Mo Pho to change their name and stop what they believed was a trademark infringement.
Responding to their critics, the founders of Pho Holdings, Stephen and Juliette Wall took to Twitter to explain their position:
“With plans to grow over the next few years, it’s important to us to maintain the trust of our customers, as well as to protect our name. While we regret that asking other restaurants to change their name is part of the process, we are not, and we would not, ask anyone to shut down, stop operating or change their menu. We’re following IP law to protect our brand, which means we have to ask all restaurants, large and small, to refrain from using the trade mark Pho in their name. And [sic] with what we think is a fair amount of time to rename, we know the country’s independent Vietnamese restaurants will continue to do well and serve their local communities.”
However, shortly after a Twitter backlash ensued, it was announced that Pho Holdings had decided not to pursue the matter any further and the company released a follow-up statement via Twitter:
“After much deliberation 2day [sic] we’ve decided to go against the legal advice we received which followed an attack by a US chain on our company. Whilst all we want 2 [sic] do is protect our brand/business, we fully understand the sentiment, & will not pursue action against MoPho-sorry guys [sic].”
Despite the fact that this particular story has been resolved without any need for legal proceedings, the LitigationSpy has been left with the dilemma of whether a company should be able to trademark the name of a national dish?
Over to you readers.