A fish and chip shop in Essex has been forced to change its name after Warner Bros. threatened legal action over its name: Scooby Snax. The shop has operated under the name for eight years, but trouble started when the shop’s owner, John McNeill, began the process of trademarking the name to protect his business.
Warner Bros. and their subsidiary Hanna Barbera argue they own all rights to the name, which they claim associates to the Scooby Doo cartoon. However, Mr McNeill and his partner Andrea Smith claim they named their shop after their dog.
The owners were advised that locking the Hollywood giant into a legal battle could cost them at least £25,000, so they have reluctantly decided to change the shop’s name to Johnny Mac’s Plaice. However, the rebrand alone has been costly. Mr McNeill told the Daily Mail: “I have had to spend £20,000 on changing everything that has the name Scooby on it – we can’t even use our menus.”
Unfortunately, Scooby Snax isn’t the only victim of copyright issues. Back in March, The Hobbit pub in Southampton was targeted by California-based movie producer the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC), which insisted the name was changed. However, after the pub received support from celebrities including Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen, the claims were dropped.
The story of Scooby Snax serves as a reminder to small businesses everywhere – although The Hobbit pub was saved, the underdog rarely wins when challenged by the big guns such as Hollywood movie studios.
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