A London coffee shop at the centre of controversy have been refused a trademark application for the name “F**Coffee”. It was deemed that the name would cause offence to a significant proportion of the UK public.
The coffee shop has been ordered to remove the “offensive” signage. The owners have now shared an amusing letter from the Intellectual Property Office which refuses their trademark application.
On October 28 the coffee shop tweeted a photo of the rejection letter from the Intellectual Property Office.
The letter states “The mark contains the highly offensive word “F**K” prominently positioned at the beginning of the mark, it continues “Although, the letter “c” from the word “coffee” is missing and the two words are conjoined, the higly offensive word “fuck” remains very obvious in the mark.”
The trademark examiner cited section 3 of the 1994 Trade Marks Act, which prohibits registration of a mark that is “contrary to public policy or to accepted principles registration of a mark that is “contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality.”
The owners of the controversial coffee shop filed an application for the mark in November 2014 and the final refusal was issue by the IPO in March 2015.
Despite the refusal of the trademark application- the coffee shop continues to operate under its name. Earlier this month however it was instructed by AM Surveying Holdings Limited, the owner of the building to remove the sign, which included the name.
The coffee shop was threatened with legal action last week and has been ordered to remove the offensive sign bearing its name from the front of the shop.
A letter from lawyers instructed by the shops landlord stated “if you or your sub-tenant do not immediately remove the sign above the property shop front ‘F***offee’, and make good any damage caused to the exterior of the building, our client will have no option but to remove the sign themselves or issue court proceedings seeking an injunction requiring you to remove the sign.”
On Tuesday the owners of the coffee shop complied with the order and duly removed the offending sign. The ingenious owners however did not rename the shop; they simply added an asterisk where the ‘U’ previously sat.
The manager of the coffee shop –Adrian Jones described the controversy as “ a storm in a teacup”, he further claimed that sales have actually increased by 20 per cent since the shop changed its name two years ago from Brick Lane Coffee.
Amidst the controversy the coffee shop appears to have garnered a lot of support from customers.
On Twitter the Mayor of London- Boris Johnson was asked as to whether F**koffee should be forced to change its name, his reply was “I am a free marketer- is it popular?”
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Grange Ward, Southwark- Ben Johnson has also offered his support towards the coffee shop and commented “I believe in freedom of expression and enjoy the eclectic mix of businesses on the street. I also believe in the right to offend. No crime has been committed and there is no role for the council in controlling shop signs.”