A fish and chip shop branded in honour of the owner’s favourite TV show, The Only Way is Essex, has been threatened with legal action by the programme’s makers if it doesn’t change its name and logo.
Staff at The Only Way is Fish, in Fyfield Road, Ongar, were stunned when a strongly-worded letter from production company Lime Pictures arrived today.
It claims the company owns the copyright to the use of “The Only Way is...” in a name and has given the business 14 days to cease trading with its current branding or face action.
To reflect style associated with TOWIE, the owner Francesca Clark created what she described as a “cheesy, blingy and glitzy” decor, with a logo similar to the one used for the show.
But in the letter, Lime Pictures lawyers ordered the shop to "Immediately cease and desist from using our logo or otherwise trading under Our Marks.
"Immediately remove your Facebook page.
"Confirm to us in writing within 14 days of the date of this letter that you have complied with the above"
But despite the threatening tone, the business has vowed to fight to keep the shop’s distinct identity.
Project manager Kevin Gibbons said: “I don’t understand how you can copyright a phrase, it’s ridiculous.
“We do a good job and that’s why we are successful and busy.”
Business partner, JohnEdwards said: "We will fight it to the end until we are forced to do something.
"We are not hurting anyone and we are not misleading anyone into thinking we have anything to do with the programme.
"It's just a gimmick"
The shop has been open for five months and employs 10 members of staff.
It displays a sign stating that it is not affiliated to the show.
Chef Chris Nelson added: "I don't think the sign has brought us any extra business and a name change wouldn't make much difference but it's not about that, it's about the principle."
Several other businesses in Essex also have names preceded by the offending words.