A BIZARRE trademark row has broken out between a celebrity London nightclub and the quango that promotes Scottish red meat.
The Scotch of St James opened at the height of the Swinging Sixties and has played host to likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart.
Legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix played his first UK gig at the club in 1966, and even met his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham there.
But for the past year the establishment has been locked in a legal battle with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), who recently tried to trademark a similar brand name.
In September 2014, the company submitted an application to the UK Intellectual Property Office asking to register the trademark ‘The Scotch Kitchen’.
It was accepted and published in the Trade Marks Journal for a range of goods and services, including the provision of food and drink.
The decision angered The Scotch nightclub’s current owner, Tihomir Lalic, who said the name was too similar to that of his establishment.
He claimed that the trademark could damage his business if it was set up as a restaurant, and instructed attorneys to fight the QMS bid.
After assessing the potential for causing confusion among members of the public, the trademark office ruled in Mr Lalic’s favour and ordered QMS to pay him £600 in costs.
The decision means that, whilst they can use the trademark for advertising meat or creating websites, they will be unable to open a restaurant in that name.
In a written ruling, trademark hearing officer Mark King said: “Conceptually ‘The Scotch’ mark will be remembered as a reference to Scottish people, whisky or something else Scottish-related.
“With regard to the application, this would be recalled as being a kitchen that either serves Scottish food or possibly as an establishment owned by people of Scottish descent.
“Regardless of the specific feature or characteristic the overall impression of the respective marks and what would be remembered by the consumers would be ‘scotch’.
“They are similar to a medium degree. In view of this, I consider that there is a likelihood of direct confusion.
“The opposition succeeds.”
He added: “I order Quality Meat Scotland to pay Tihomir Lalic the sum of £600, which should be paid within 14 days of the expiry of the appeal period.”
QMS is best known for marketing Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb brands in the UK and abroad.
The company currently uses the name ‘The Scotch Kitchen’ on a website which offers recipes for red meat dishes.
Suzie Carlaw, marketing controller at QMS, said: “The decision by the UK Intellectual Property Office does not impact on any of QMS’s activities, namely the Scotch Kitchen website and social platforms which are the go-to resources for Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI information and recipes.”
The Scotch nightclub, in Westminster, has attracted a string of big names in recent years including Kate Moss, Rihanna and Scarlett Johansson.