Mourne Seafood restaurant in legal battle over use of name by other firm
One of Northern Ireland's top restaurants is poised to launch legal action against another firm in a remarkable row over the use of its name.
Mourne Seafood Bar is in dispute with a competitor over use of the phrase 'Mourne seafood', as both fight it out for a share of the online market.
Bob McCoubrey, the boss of Mourne Seafood Bar - which operates restaurants in Belfast, Dundrum and Dublin - told the Belfast Telegraph he had consulted a solicitor over the use of a similar name by another company.
That other company is Mourne Seafoods, a supplier of fresh fish and shellfish to restaurants and pubs. It is a separate entity from Mourne Seafood Bar, with no ownership in common.
Mourne Seafoods recently launched www.mournefishbox.com while Mourne Seafood Bar has launched the Mourne Seafood Bar Seafood Shop. A spokeswoman for Mourne Seafoods said it had registered a trademark for the name.
And a legal expert last night confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph that both companies had registered separate trademarks.
Mourne Seafoods is the official trademark of a business in the delivery of fish, seafood and molluscs.
Mourne Seafood Bar is registered for use as the name of a licensed restaurant.
Peter Guzhar, an associate at law firm Carson McDowell, said: "Since both have registered trademarks, they could enforce rights for trademark infringement."
While the name of Mourne Seafoods' new website, www.mournefishbox.com, is not close to Mourne Seafood Bar, it's believed the restaurant company feels the use of 'Mourne Seafoods' on the website is enough to confuse customers.
Adrian O'Connell, the head of the contracts and technology department of law firm Tughans, said some trademarks conferred monopoly rights - where only the trademark holder could use the name - but that 'Mourne seafood' was unlikely to come into this category.
"Mourne seafood may be too general and descriptive so that it's in the public interest that no one has a monopoly right," said Mr O'Connell.
Mourne Seafoods' main business has been delivering fresh fish and seafood to hotels and restaurants around Ireland.
Mourne Seafood Bar is best known for running the three restaurants, a cookery school and another venue in its portfolio, Home.