Hell’s Kitchen winner Terry Miller has won a four-and-a-half year trademark legal wrangle with the music bigwigs behind Jay-Z and Kanye West.
The Geordie chef, winner of the ITV show in 2005, and his wife Linda won a ruling from the UK’s Intellectual Property Office granting them a trademark for their restaurant name ‘Rockafella’.
However, the Newcastle restaurant was forced to close in September 2008 as a result of the credit crunch.
Roc-A-Fella Records, part of the Universal Music Group, had opposed the Millers' application to register their name as a trademark claiming that the general public would be confused into thinking the two enterprises were connected.
However, Intellectual Property Office judge Oliver Morris disagreed and ruled that the public would be more likely to think of the famous American Rockerfeller family if they encountered either the record label or the restaurant.
He added: "Although the marks are highly similar, there is a large degree of dissimilarity between restaurant and catering services on the one hand and the services relating to record production on the other. I do not consider that the consumer would confuse the undertakings.”
Miller used his £250,000 Hell’s Kitchen winnings to launch the restaurant, which was opened by celebrity chef Gary Rhodes and England football star Alan Shearer. Miller is currently working alongside his wife as head chef and stewardess on a Russian millionaire’s yacht in the Mediterranean.
However, should they decide to reopen, they now have the exclusive right to use the name ‘Rockafella’ for restaurants in the UK following the ruling. The record label was ordered to pay the Millers £400 in legal costs.
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By Janie Stamford
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