“David and Goliath” legal battle: Jaguar cars versus the Jaguar bar

17:55 25 May 2012

Nick Letchford outside Jaguar Shoes

Nick Letchford outside Jaguar Shoes

Archant

Car giant Jaguar has launched a legal battle over a café, bar and art gallery bearing the name Jaguar Shoes, which is frequented by the likes of stars like Natalie Portman and Beyonce.

Founders and brother and sister Nick Letchford and Teresa Skragatic, set up the venue in Kingsland Road 12 years ago when they knocked together a former bag store and shoe shop.

They decided to keep the quirky vintage signage outside and Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes was born, shortened to Jaguar Shoes.

But two years ago when the name was plaguarised, they sought to protect it with a trademark.

Car company Jaguar Land Rover objected to the use of the word Jaguar, and ever since lawyers from both sides have been trying to negotiate a deal.

“This is a point of principle for us and we will do whatever it takes to preserve the name and reputation of Jaguar Shoes,” said Mr Letchford.

“It’s a big part of our identity, for us it’s a heritage thing, it’s the signage there is the starting point for it all.

“The big corporates are perfectly within their rights to seek to preserve their legitimate rights, but this just amounts to irrational and inappropriate pressure which seems to us to be designed to keep the lawyers in business rather than any proper concern from Jaguar Cars to defend its brand,” he added.

“There are hundreds of bars but Jaguar Shoes is more than a bar, that was our mandate from day one, we were a group in the creative industries wanting to create a place where those kind of people want to spend their time.

“It’s kind of a David and Goliath situation, Jaguar are a multi-million pound organisation and we are a small group of businesses.”

A petition asking people to sign if they have “never experienced any confusion between the restaurant bar and gallery brand Jaguar Shoes and Jaguar who make cars,” now has over 1,000 signatures.

A hearing at the Intellectual Property Office is due to be heard on June 6.

Jaguar Landrover did not respond to the Gazette’s request to comment.

To see the petition go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/jaguarshoes/

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