Percy Pig flavoured ice cream renamed after M&S sends letter to Fabio’s Gelato in Hitchin
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M&S has called for a family-run ice cream shop to change the name of its Percy Pig ice cream after sending the owners a cease and desist letter - with a packet of sweets. Fabio’s Gelato, based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire received the letter asking them to change the name of the sweet treat ‘just before the King’s coronation’ after advertising the new flavour online.
The family-run business had only been making the Percy Pig flavour ice cream for a week when they received the letter through the post, stating that owner Fabio Vincineti could not use the name of the product - as since 1992 Percy Pig could only be used on "official M&S products".
Fabio, who owns the business with his wife Hannah, said: "Just before the Kings coronation we made the ice cream and advertised it. The day we actually started selling it was the day we were sent the letter. It said we were more than welcome to use the product but not the name.
"The letter was really fair and was a nice way of saying stop using the name. I get they’ve worked really hard to create the brand name, so it’s understandable. They gave us alternative name ideas and even sent a packet of sweets.
"It’s the first time we’ve been sent a letter like this. We always just thought we were too small - we’re a drop in the ocean. To be spotted by them is quite flattering really.”
M&S said in its letter: "While we are flattered that you have been inspired to create a flavour based on our Percy Pig sweets, and in no way wish to stop you selling this flavour or from using our sweets to top it, we would be grateful if you could avoid using the name Percy Pig to do so.
"Percy Pig is one of our ‘hero’ brands and we own trade marks to protect it. We risk losing those trade marks (and more importantly to us, consumers will no longer be confident Percy Pig-branded products originate from M&S) if we do not take steps to stop others from using them without our permission.
"We hope you understand how important it is for us to protect our brand. However, we also understand that mistakes are easily made in this area and we are keen to resolve this amicably."
They then asked if the ice cream parlour could confirm within 14 days that they had renamed the flavour and suggested "Something like Pig Faces or Pig Sweets would be fine".
The family-run ice cream parlour creates gelato from several branded items including chocolate bars, energy drinks, McDonalds and Marmite. However, this is the first time they’ve received a legal request from a brand to change the name of their product.
‘’It’s flattering that he’s inspired Fabio’s new gelato and we hope they enjoy the treat we sent - Percy Pig sweets of course!”
Fabio has since opened an online competition, which has had 120 entries so far, asking customers to come up with a new name for the ice cream.