Copyright and Passing Off Action by TOWIE


Francesca Clark was excited to open her new Chip shop, The Only Way is Fish when she opened for business five months ago in Ongar, Essex.


But now makers of the popular reality TV series ‘The Only Way is Essex’, otherwise known as TOWIE,have called in the lawyers – because they say the name is in breach of the company’s copyright.


Lime Pictures, the production company behind the show, has allegedly written a strongly-worded letter to the shop’s owners, warning them they could land in trouble for using the phrase ‘The Only Way is’.


Ms Clark said she gave her shop a ‘cheesy, blingy and glitzy’ decor and used a logo similar to the one used for the show, intentionally.  However she states that she made it clear to her customers that the shop was in no way affiliated with the show, by displaying a sign in the window.


However the disclaimer doesn’t seem enough for the company’s lawyers, who have allegedly told the business to stop trading under its current branding.


In the letter, it said the shop should ‘immediately cease and desist from using our logo or otherwise trading under our marks’.


It also told the company to ‘immediately’ remove its Facebook page.  The company, which also produces shows such as Hollyoaks, allegedly told Ms Clark she had just 14 days to change the name and logo of the shop – unless she wanted to face legal action.


Copyright infringement and Passing off are both serious infractions of IP law and can hinder your business tremendously, whether you are the alleged party or the party making the allegation against someone else.


Copyright is infringed when a specific act is carried out without permission of the party who owns the copyright.  It occurs when the infringing work is “substantially similar” to the copyrighted work.


Passing Off is when one trader misrepresents goods or services as being the goods or services of another.


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Sandip Sohal   Graeme Carney