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Save the Hobbit pub, Southampton, England!

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  • Save the Hobbit pub, Southampton, England!

    There's this LOTR themed pub in Southampton, England that's being threatened with closing down, website here:
    http://www.hobbitpub.co.uk

    The article in question:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-17350103

    There's a "Save the Hobbit pub" facebook page as well if you want to support them.
    http://www.facebook.com/SaveTheHobbitSouthampton

    and the actual Hobbit pub facebook page.
    http://www.facebook.com/thehobbitpub


    My website blog about it:
    http://www.chaos8.com/wordpress/?p=299

    I have been to this pub and it's great fun, with hobbit styled menus, drinks etc etc..
    I guess the movie studios want them out due to the the up and coming Hobbit movie, but this pub has been around for about 20 years..

    Would be great if people could got the Save the Hobbit pub Facebook page and show their support.

  • #2
    Well, legally SZC are perfectly entitled to request that the owners stop using the name - TSR were forced to removed 'hobbit' from the original editions of Dungeons & Dragons because of copyright/licensing issues (so they became 'halflings' instead) - and their use of images from the LOTR films (presumably without permission?) on their promotional material is also a clear infringement. The pub is plainly trading on the association of Tolkien's book and presumably making some money off of that association. Think about how it would be if someone opened an Elric-themed pub (without asking Mike first); would we all be quite so eager to be on the side of the 'underdog' if we thought they were ripping off Mike's IP?

    The thing is, where trademarks are concerned the trademark holder has a legal obligation to pursue any infringements if they want to preserve the trademark. Trademarks serve a function in that they protect the integrity of the item being traded; if you develop something you don't want people selling inferior knock-offs masquerading as your original.

    However, in this specific example it does look a lot like a large greedy (foreign) corporation (with a couple of movies in the offering) stomping on a poor honest, hard-working little guy. The fact that the little guy is arguably in the wrong doesn't really enter into it when you get the likes of Stephen Fry, Ian McKellan and Neil Gaiman chiming in with their support. And Fry is right in one sense when he says SZC's actions are "pointless, self-defeating bullying" because it doesn't actually do them any favours. No-one goes, 'Hang on, maybe they've got a point', and it would have been good common sense if, rather than sending a lawyer's Cease & Desist letter to the pub, they had arrived at some sort of 'understanding', where the pub agreed to acknowledge SCZ's legal ownership of the name/characters within the pub/on their promotional material and SCZ agreed not to sue the arse off of them. Unfortunately lawyers are not necessarily known for their good common sense.
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

    Comment


    • #3
      Effect of acquiescence

      (1)Where the proprietor of an earlier trade mark or other earlier right has acquiesced for a continuous period of five years in the use of a registered trade mark in the United Kingdom, being aware of that use, there shall cease to be any entitlement on the basis of that earlier trade mark or other right—
      (a)to apply for a declaration that the registration of the later trade mark is invalid, or

      (b)to oppose the use of the later trade mark in relation to the goods or services in relation to which it has been so used, unless the registration of the later trade mark was applied for in bad faith.
      (2)Where subsection (1) applies, the proprietor of the later trade mark is not entitled to oppose the use of the earlier trade mark or, as the case may be, the exploitation of the earlier right, notwithstanding that the earlier trade mark or right may no longer be invoked against his later trade mark.
      Did the previous holders know? As only companies can afford the lawyers, whether or not they have a case will never be known.
      "All equally subject to the law of the land"? Aye, right.

      PS: the pub's use of images / actors from the film to promote themselves is a clear IP breach though: a redecoration job (or small license fee) is the only way to go on that aspect of the case.
      Last edited by Rothgo; 03-15-2012, 06:16 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
        Unfortunately lawyers are not necessarily known for their good common sense.
        Not when there is a highly inflated fee to be had they're not ... this is the second one they have outstanding at the moment, the other being the Hungry Hobbit cafe. They're certainly not doing themselves any favours by picking on these small business owners.
        Twitter: The system that put paid to the old adage 'politicians only lie when their lips start moving'

        Comment


        • #5
          There have been businesses called 'Hobbit' for decades, but at some point you have to look at that website and how they play on every aspect of LOTR (instead of being creative) and think it crosses a line.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm surprised they haven't gone for Led Zeppelin for Misty Mountain Hop and Barclay James Harvest for Galadriel.

            Epic legal Pooh.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
              Think about how it would be if someone opened an Elric-themed pub (without asking Mike first);
              Pretty bloody dangerous, can you imagine the hangovers ?

              "Cor blimey, I feel like someone sucked out my soul last night ......"
              Last edited by zilch; 03-16-2012, 12:08 AM.
              http://final-frame-final.blogspot.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by porcus_volans View Post
                I'm surprised they haven't gone for Led Zeppelin for Misty Mountain Hop...
                And let's not forget Ramble On:

                "T'was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.
                But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her....yeah."
                β€œThe intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” - Albert Einstein

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                • #9
                  Job done it seems.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's what I like to hear ... but I would have thought it more prudent to approach the pub about the situation before the legal drama rather than after it. All they've done by doing it this way is make themselves look like bullies and cowards. Bullies because it's a David vs Goliath battle, and cowards because no matter how reasonable they're actually being in making this offer, the final appearance is that of a climbdown and retreat.

                    I wonder if they'll offer the same deal to the Hungry Hobbit cafe.
                    Twitter: The system that put paid to the old adage 'politicians only lie when their lips start moving'

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think it's probably as much if not more about future businesses than 'established' businesses. Will the license be extended to new businesses? What happens to their license if official LOTR restaurants start to appear? Or how about a casino?

                      Pretty much anyone pursuing IP in court is going to look like a bad guy at this point, no matter that they are doing. I believe the point of the lawsuit is to set legal precedent, and they pretty much have to do that if they want to keep the trademark.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by opaloka View Post
                        I believe the point of the lawsuit is to set legal precedent, and they pretty much have to do that if they want to keep the trademark.
                        Or they could have set legal precedent in a less hostile manner by making the offer before legal action (even if it were making the offer under threat of legal action), that way they would have come out of it with a far more positive reputation than they have. Pursuing legal action as a first resort in cases like this should be made (in my opinion), ironically, illegal ... there should at least be an attempt to sort it out in a civil manner before taking this sort of action.
                        Twitter: The system that put paid to the old adage 'politicians only lie when their lips start moving'

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Absolutely, they're ruthless. It would be better. I think people pursue this stuff to set legal precedent in civil courts. It probably would be better if the way to protect property didn't involve an adversarial complaint - a lawsuit. I wonder what that would look like?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Anyone remember the Blackball Hilton?

                            It reminds me of the Blackball Hilton and the Hilton hotel chain's actions in relation to it in the early eighties.

                            Nobody that I was aware of, was impressed with the Hilton hotel chain - I for one felt it only just that a popular TV mini-series to come out of Australia in the eighties was titled "The Bangkok Hilton".

                            And I would never choose to stay the night in anywhere titled the Paris Hilton, or the London Hilton, or the New York Hilton, for fear of the cockroaches I saw in the Bangkok Hilton.
                            Last edited by In_Loos_Ptokai; 03-17-2012, 12:43 AM.
                            sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

                            Gold is the power of a man with a man
                            And incense the power of man with God
                            But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
                            And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

                            Nativity,
                            by Peter Cape

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                            • #15
                              I have to say I'm on the side of Goliath in this particular case; The Hobbit pub had no right to use the names/images that they had appropriated for their own business and they should consider themselves very lucky that 'good common sense' has (for once) prevailed. I think it's also pertinent to note who got the media involved in the first place. The pub has arguably run a very clever Internet/social media campaign, with a few obvious high profile supporters falling into line almost on cue, which has in turn resulted in a lot of publicity for their business (I'd never heard of the pub before this all blew up) that they probably couldn't afford normally. It's ironic that by writing to The Hobbit pub in the first place SZC has done more to put the pub on the map in one week than the pub achieved in 20 years from their own efforts.
                              Last edited by David Mosley; 03-22-2012, 08:39 AM.
                              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                              Comment

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