The owners of the celebrity-packed Cipriani restaurant in London’s Mayfair have been ordered to change its name by a High Court judge after losing a legal battle with Orient-Express’ famous Hotel Cipriani in Venice.
Despite father and son owners Arrigo and Guiseppe Cipriani having a string of eponymous US eateries of the same name, their UK branch has been ordered to change its name or close down.
In a statement the pair said they were `extremely disappointed` by the court`s decision and said they would appeal against it.
"In light of the fact we have the right to use the Cipriani family name in connection with our businesses in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world, this decision is quite shocking," they said.
However, Orient Express Hotels welcomed the decision and said it had worked hard to build a reputation across the world for Hotel Cipriani.†
Paul White, president and chief executive of Orient-Express Hotels, said: "We are entitled to protect this famous name in Europe and it was important to us to do so. `Cipriani` is one of the many valuable brands owned by the Company and it is our intention to maintain such value by taking the appropriate action in any part of the world when others seek to encroach upon them."
The decision comes as a result of Guiseppe Snr, Arrigo’s father, selling the rights to use his name as a brand for the hotel he founded along with the Guiness family back in 1967. The name was eventually trademarked and found its way under the Orient Express umbrella of worldwide hotels, which also includes Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire.
As the Hotel Cipriani trademark forbids any restaurant or hotel, among others, to use the brand name in the UK, the High Court passed the ruling only on the London restaurant.†
The hotel has now also announced it will seek damages and costs from the London restaurant owners.
Partner Patrick Cantrill, head of intellectual property at Walker Morris, the solicitors representing Hotel Cipriani, said businesses do not have the ‘universal right’ to use their own name. “This was a major case involving complicated issues about the validity of registered trade marks and the extent to which someone can use their own name to carry on a business despite such registered rights.”
The Venetian hotel was built back in 1958 by Giuseppe Cipriani Snr, owner of the city’s popular Harry’s Bar, but 10 years later he sold his entire interest in the company, including the exclusive rights to the use of the Cipriani name.
After opening a string of successful restaurants in the US, most of which are in New York, Arrigo and Giuseppe Jnr, opened the eponymous London restaurant and celebrity hangout in 2004 to a wave of mixed reviews. In August 2008, the Cipriani restaurant business agreed to pay $10m to settle tax evasion charges brought against them in New York.