James Cochran, star of the BBC’s Great British Menu, has hit back at his former employers, Rayuela Limited, after discovering they’d trademarked his name and likeness in order to market his recipes.
When James Cochran left his self-titled restaurant earlier this year to pursue new opportunities, it was thought that relations with his former employer had finished in an amicable fashion. But, after a series of tweets by the TV chef, it is clear that is not the case.
The dispute surrounds two trademarks that were filed with the Intellectual Property Office in December 2017 – his name, and a logo which depicts his likeness, as well as key characteristics: his beard and glasses.
The TV chef, who rose to fame on the Great British Menu, publicly hit back at his former employers, claiming that he was left emotional after realising that he could no longer use his own name to market his new restaurant.
Rayuela has responded to James’ criticism with a statement making it clear that it will defend their business vigorously against “baseless accusations” and “defamatory statements”, explaining that thousands of pounds had been spent on promoting the TV Chef and asserting first ownership of his brand under intellectual property law. Rayuela has since renamed the restaurant, but continues to sell ‘James Cochran’ recipes for premium prices on its website.
This is not the first time that a celebrity has faced problems after selling the intellectual property rights attached to their own name – Roger Federer clashed with former sponsor Nike over the ownership of his RF logo, fashion designers Elizabeth Emanuel and Karen Millen were prevented from using their own names when starting new ventures having sold their previous businesses, as was Jo Malone after she sold Jo Malone Limited and then founded Jo Loves, while fans of Prince will recall his legal battle against Warner Music who insisted they owned and controlled his name.