Hobbit Pub Facing Trademark Challenge in the UK

by T+B Blog Team on March 15, 2012

Visitors to a pub in Southampton, England may be nearing their last chance to down drinks with names like Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo and Legolas. That’s because the pub, known as The Hobbit, is in a legal battle with Middle-earth Enterprises, which owns the rights to the bulk of writer J. R. R. Tolkien’s work. Middle-earth, part of the The Saul Zaentz Company, has requested that the pub remove all references to the Hobbits by May or face legal action.

Supporters of The Hobbit pub have begun social media campaigns, including a Save the Hobbit Facebook page (with more than 44,000 “likes” to date) to spread news of the pub’s dilemma. The Daily Mail reported that the pub’s landlady, Stella Roberts said: “We have been told that absolutely everything to do with the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit must go. That includes the name of the pub, the logo, the name of the drinks and the artwork.”

The Saul Zaentz Company owns several Hobbit trademarks, including many that were registered during the second half of 2011, including filings in international class 34 (ashtrays and cigarettes) 32 (beer and energy drinks), 25 (costumes), and 14 (jewelry). Here’s a record from Corsearch® Advantage™ of a recent filing for Hobbit food items:

This December, Hobbit fans will most likely be in movie theaters viewing a new film called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, directed by Peter Jackson, who also directed ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movie trilogy. Take a look at the movie trailer:

What’s your favorite Tolkien book?

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