Promoter felt bullied by In The Night Garden trademark threats

The newly-named Star Garden - formerly The Night Garden.

The newly-named Star Garden - formerly The Night Garden. - Credit: Archant

A promoter says he felt bullied into changing his pop-up event’s name after he was threatened with legal action by lawyers acting for the producers of CBBC show In The Night Garden.

Alistair Siddons was shocked last week when he received a letter from top law firm Mishcon de Reya, instructing him to withdraw his trademark application for The Night Garden within five days.

He was told the name was too similar to the brand owned by DHX Media who didn’t want their reputation damaged by association with a pop-up event where alcohol was being sold.

Partner Sally Britton wrote: “Our client’s mark In the Night Garden has a reputation in the UK, by virtue of the considerable success that the programme and associated merchandise has enjoyed.

“The injury to our client’s mark would be particularly acute because your application covers alcoholic beverages, which are highly inconsistent with, and are inappropriate for, a children’s entertainment and merchandise property.”

Mr Siddons, who has only run two evening events for about 25 guests in the garden he restyled at the back of Veneta’s café in Chatsworth Road, Lower Clapton, chose the name because of the “sense of mystery” it conjured up.

He says he did not intend any association with the popular toddler’s show, whose characters include Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy and the Tombliboos.

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“It was a factual description of what my event is – it’s a garden that’s open at night,” said Mr Siddons, who found the letter ‘aggressive’.

“It made me feel like it was the United States of America invading a tiny uninhabited island, it was that scale of absurdity,” he added.

Faced with the prospect of a massive legal bill, Mr Siddons decided it was a “no-brainer” to defend a law suit and immediately changed the pop-up’s name to The Star Garden.

“I’ve put a lot of energy into the look of the core business and I feel my original vision for it has been crushed. I’m disappointed,” he said.

Ms Britton said she did not want to comment.

Last July car giant Jaguar backed down from a David and Goliath legal battle it launched over the popular Shoreditch café, bar and art gallery, Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes.

The dispute had been rumbling on for two years before Jaguar withdrew its opposition to the trademark of the Kingsland Road bar.

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