A row over trademarking boils over on social media

In a bizarre turn of events, a legal dispute over trademarking has arisen between two pasta restaurants. 

A newly opened Glasgow restaurant named Sugo Pasta has launched an attack on the well-loved Manchester casual dining spot Sugo Pasta Kitchen. The altercation is because the restaurants are trading under almost identical names. 

However, Manchester’s Sugo has been operating since 2015 and the newer restaurant only applied for their trademark on the name in 2017. 

Glaswegians who had bought vouchers in error received refunds and made good humoured comments on social media

It appears that multiple potential customers of the Glasgow restaurant mistakenly bought vouchers from the Altrincham restaurant’s website.

In a Facebook post on 10 December, Sugo Altrincham posted to their ‘brothers and sisters in Glasgow’: 

"Beautiful people, epic city. Way too many of you peeps are landing on our website, looking at our menu, buying our vouchers and mistaking us for Sugo Pasta - unfortunately for you folk it isn’t us! We launched in Manchester back in 2015 so if you’re ever south of the border in our city come and check us out!  The crazy thing here is your boys (the guys behind Paesano Pizza) are trying to sue us for using our own name, crazy world we live in eh!”

Sugo Pasta Kitchen Dish
A dish from the Altrincham restaurant

Glaswegians who had bought vouchers in error were offered refunds and made good humoured comments on social media:

Thanks for arranging a refund for this dafty, I’ll be sure to visit if I’m ever down! Peace & love x”

“I stupidly bought vouchers for this restaurant too. I’m still waiting on a refund but hopefully it’ll be sorted soon. Seems like yous had the name first so it’s strange that the Glasgow one would want to use the same name. Maybe they should have googled it first!”

But the Glasgow restaurant responded in a - now deleted - post entitled 'We've got beef'. In the post, Glasgow Sugo claimed that they had offered a ‘compromise’ to Manchester Sugo, telling them they could keep the name as long as they didn’t expand to other locations. How very magnanimous of them. 

Sugo Pasta Kitchen 2
Sugo in Altrincham

The post claimed that Manchester Sugo had opened their Ancoats branch after this - but the Manchester restaurateurs dispute that, saying they had already opened in Ancoats before they knew anything about Glasgow Sugo. 

Manchester Sugo were also accused of failing to respond to legal correspondence. They responded by saying they had received a legal letter asking them to hand over their website, remove signage and withdraw their own trademark application - amongst other things. They appealed to the Glasgow restaurant saying that this could all have been resolved without either restaurant having to spend their hard earned cash on legal fees if the two businesses had only sat down and sorted it out reasonably amongst themselves early on.

In such a competitive and passionate industry, the whole thing just seems a shame.

2019 12 17 Sugo Glasgow
Glasgow's new Sugo restaurant - they've forked out on a giant neon sign

We spoke to Mike De Martiis, owner of Sugo Pasta Kitchens in Altrincham and Ancoats and he was understandably feeling mithered about the whole drama - especially given the time of year. He said:

"As a business we simply won't be bullied by these tactics. We want to engage, face to face, in a dialogue about finding a solution for both of us. In fact, I'd love to visit Glasgow.

"Ultimately we are a small family business that don't want to spend a year's worth of work on solicitors fees.

"I'd rather not spend my time responding to comments on Instagram - my wife and daughter would like more of my attention at Christmas."

Confidentials have reached out to Sugo Pasta in Glasgow but are yet to receive a comment from them.

We think the whole thing is tortelli crazy and are hoping for a swift and painless solution for all involved - especially as the Manchester branches opened first...