Lady Godiva pub exposed to trademark threat

13-10-2014

A Belgian chocolate maker has ordered an English-themed pub using the name ‘Lady Godiva’ to re-brand because of a conflict with EU trademark registrations protecting the name.

Lady Godiva was an 11th century English noblewoman who, legend suggests, rode naked through the streets of Coventry to persuade her husband to reduce the high taxes he imposed on his subjects.

A thousand years later, a pub called Lady Godiva based in Geneva, Switzerland has received a cease-and-desist letter from Godiva Chocolatier, a company founded in Belgium in 1926.

Godiva Chocolatier, which says the “famous story” of the noblewoman is the inspiration behind the company’s name, has given the pub 90 days to re-brand and remove all references to the historical figure.

The company does own five EU trademark registrations for variations of ‘Godiva’, which protect goods including alcoholic beverages (except beer) and “services for providing food and drink”.

However, the Lady Godiva pub's owner Glen Simons told The Mail on Sunday newspaper: “My pub has nothing to do with chocolates so I don’t see how anyone could be confused.”

He added: “As well as the sign outside, we’ve got her name engraved on the windows and front door. It would cost a fortune to remove them. My regulars are absolutely furious.

“I am not going to back down. This has been the Lady Godiva pub for seven years and that’s how it’s going to stay.”

Godiva Chocolatier did not respond to a request for comment, but a company spokesman told the Mail: “Clearly, it is important for us to ensure that consumers are not confused by a place serving food and drink using the Godiva name and imagery when that place has nothing to do with us.”

After Godiva completed her naked horseback challenge, legend has it that her husband, Lord Leofric, agreed to his promise and eased the taxation levels on the poor.

Godiva Chocolatier; Lady Godiva pub; Lady Godiva; trademark; trademark infringement

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