The Grimsby-based fish producer has filed a formal complaint at the UK Trade Marks Registry to two trademarks registered by Morrisons for its ‘The Big Fish Company.’
Morrisons’ brand is too similar to JCS’s own well-established BigFish Brand, the firm’s md Andrew Coulbeck claimed.
But a spokesman for Morrisons told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We don’t think there are any similarities”.
But, Coulbeck said the existence of another “very similar brand” would be a “direct threat” to the £6M business, which has recently invested £700,000 in its production facilities and now employs 40 people.
“We don’t understand why, when they surely knew about us, Morrisons would want to choose a brand which is so close to ours,” he said.
“It just feels like they are trampling on a smaller business, particularly since when they first applied for the mark, the Trade Mark Registry told them that our mark may be identical or similar, at which point Morrisons could have withdrawn their application.”
Morrisons and its legal team said it did not consider the two marks to be similar and continue to sell the products, Coulbeck claimed.
Dominate the market and reduce choice
“It is very disappointing that a big retailer such as Morrisons sees the need to pursue an action which could directly threaten the future of a smaller, family-run
business such as ours,” he said.
“Today’s consumer welcomes choice, but if the major players seek to dominate the market using confusingly similar brands that choice will be reduced.”
The JCS Fish brand has grown by about 10% in the past 12 months, off the back of the investment in its production site, Coulbeck added.