by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
copyright, hobbit, pub, trademark, uk

saul zaentz company

Decades-Old UK Pub 'The Hobbit' Threatened With Legal Action For Infringing On Hobbit IP

from the pointless dept

As a whole bunch of folks have been sending in, the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC), which holds the intellectual property rights associated with The Hobbit, has stupidly threatened a small UK pub called "The Hobbit" which has used the name for over 20 years without any problem.
The article isn't clear if we're talking about copyrights, trademarks or both, but either way the whole thing is pretty silly. Yes, the pub "features characters from Tolkien's stories on its signs, has 'Frodo' and 'Gandalf' cocktails on the menu, and the face of Lord of the Rings film star Elijah Wood on its loyalty card." But is this really harming the rightsholder? I'm sure that SZC is doing all sorts of ridiculously lucrative licensing deals for the upcoming Hobbit movie, and so it's trying to clear the field of infringers, but all this does is make them look like massive, insensitive bullies. Hell, even Stephen Fry, who's starring in the movie, has tweeted how ridiculous this is, calling it "pointless, self-defeating bullying." But, you know, that's pretty much how Hollywood functions these days.

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    TtfnJohn (profile), 14 Mar 2012 @ 9:36pm


    You know as someone who has read and re-read LoTR and the Hobbit more times that I can count over the past 40 years I have to tell you that I can't see Tolkien being overly concerned about some of the characters selling grog. Sam, you need to remember was part of a pub operation in The Shire.

    As for franchising out the name if the owners of the place haven't done that after two decades they're not about to now.

    This is pure bullying on the same level as the IOC trying to force Olympia Pizza in Vancouver to change it's name and logo lest someone confuse a well known pizza joint with the Olympics. No one is about to confuse this little pub with Hobbitt/LoTR official stuff so I fail to see what the problem is about.

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