Saturday, 4 November 2017

"Fat Rascal" - a Registered Trade Mark

199 Steps Whitby
FAT RASCALS have been made in North Yorkshire and other places for many decades.  They may not be the ideal food for those seeking to maintain a trim figure but they are a delight to have in a pleasant cafe along with coffee or tea.  The website Foods of England informs us that the name "Fat Rascals" has been in use at least since the 1855 "Glossary of Yorkshire Words and Phrases Collected in Whitby and the Neighbourhood."  The BBC offers us a recipe and says here that they may have been made since Elizabethan times.

The delightful small "Sandgate Cafe" in Whitby sold their own product and named them "Fat Rascals" but the owners of the popular Bettys Tea Rooms heard about it.   It turned out that "Fat Rascal" is a Registered Trade Mark owned by Bettys and Taylors Group Ltd, Harrogate and they objected to use of the their trade mark - Express 4th November.   The outcome seems to be that Sandgate Cafe now sells their product under the name "Whitby Fatties" and it is reported that they are selling well.

Trade Marks are one species of "intellectual property." See the website of De Montfort University for further information on intellectual property rights.  A trade mark is defined by the Trade Marks Act 1994 as "any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.  A trade mark may, in particular, consist of words (including personal names), designs, letters, numerals or the shape of goods or their packaging."

You can search to find out whether a trade mark is registered - HERE.

The proprietor of a registered trade mark has exclusive rights in the trade mark which are infringed by use of the trade mark in the United Kingdom without his consent.  Infringement proceedings are possible and there is an offence of Unauthorised Use of a Trade Mark - Trade Marks Act 1998 section 92.

I am delighted that such legal steps have not been taken.  Perhaps if you are ever in Whitby you will seek out the Sandgate Cafe and enjoy a Whitby Fatty.  The 199 steps will be exercise enough if you are worried about the calories!

Examples of Trade Marks:

Some Trade Marks are extremely well-known.  The first registered trade mark was the Red Triangle of BASS.

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