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Glasgow and Manchester Sugo pasta restaurants embroiled in incredible Instagram feud over name copyright

Newly opened Sugo Pasta in Glasgow has become embroiled in a social media feud with another restaurant, Manchester's Sugo Pasta Kitchen, over the use of their name.

Published: December 12, 2019
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The confusion seems to have stemmed from the fact that diners in Glasgow have been visiting the Manchester-based restaurant's website to view the menu and buy gift vouchers without realising they are in fact on the wrong page.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B541YDagQNK/

This then lead to Sugo Pasta Kitchen, who opened in Manchester in 2015, posting on 11 December on their official Instagram account trying to clarify the situation by stating: "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 Glasgow - unfortunately for you folk it isn’t us."

Surprisingly, they then opened up about the row over their name, adding: "The crazy thing here is your boys Sugo Pasta Glasgow (the guys behind Paesano Pizza Glasgow) are trying to sue us for using our own name, crazy world we live in eh."

Glasgow's Sugo Pasta then replied with a post titled 'we've got beef' and went on to explain their side of the story.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B58hLFrlye4/

 

The post hit back stating that the confusion could have been avoided had Sugo Pasta Kitchen simply "stuck to the UK trademark rules" or "even accepted the compromise" that the Glasgow Sugo had offered them.

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It finished up by adding that the team behind Paesano had registered the trademark “Sugo Pasta” back in 2017, and that there were no issues, but that it was brought to their attention that they had some "like-minded friends in Manchester" that had opened a Sugo in 2015.

They added: "So we wrote to them, we made them aware of what had happened and offered a compromise, letting them use our trademark name. Our compromise was ignored, and another Sugo Pasta Kitchen was opened… that’s just not cool.

"Anyway, there’s the facts. We only do things the right way, from creating our restaurant to producing delicious pasta."

Sugo Manchester's reply

The team at Sugo Pasta Kitchen in Manchester didn't take long to reply to the post saying: "Audrey & Paul it’s nice to hear from you. For the avoidance of doubt this is what’s happened... oh and our second site opened in summer 2018 long before we heard of you - trust me it was cool.

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"1. I got a tip off in Feb this year that a pasta restaurant in Glasgow was opening up called ‘Sugo Pasta’ - I tried to get into dialogue with you but you just told me that I’d hear from your lawyers. Are you honestly telling me you’d open a big city centre restaurant and wouldn’t at least do some google searches on potential names?

"2. I got a letter from your intitial trademark attorney asking me to sign undertakings that we’d only use our name ‘Sugo Pasta Kitchen’ at the two sites we currently have otherwise you’d sue us for breach of your trademark - you serious?

"3. I didn’t sign them but we didn’t interfere at all with what some would describe as the plagiarisation of our brand.

"4. We then got what can only be described as a cease and desist order from a separate attorney asking us to; hand our website over to you, to remove our signage, to withdraw our own trademark application, to not apply to invalidate yours as well as a bunch of other clauses.

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"5. We responded basically saying ‘no’. The bottom line is this. We’re real people with real families with real staff doing real things serving real people. Swerving us a few hard ball legal letters ain’t gonna cut it.

"Why don’t we sit down as fellow restaurateurs apparently with a shared passion for pasta and sort this out, why continue to hide behind lawyers?"

It then finished: "There’s absolutely no confusion here, back home in Italy, with our customers in Manchester OR indeed with the good people of Glasgow - you’re trying to F**k us. The end.

The Manchester restaurateur then added that he and his brother were ready to sort the issue out without need to resort to "lining the pockets of solicitors".

Michael De Martiis co-owner of Sugo Pasta Kitchen in Manchester 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 comments on Instagram - my wife and daughter would like more of my attention at Christmas."

Online reaction

Replies have been mixed, with many people commenting support of each side and some suggesting the public discussion wasn't professional.

@simraanpreet wrote: "This is all extremely very very unprofessional. Grow up people and sort it out and stop making a public spectacle of yourselves. This isn’t how you run businesses."

@t.sam.c said: "They opened 2015. You registered 2017 opened 2019. What’s the problem?"

@lusnaps added: "Nice response Sugo Pasta Kitchen sort it out Sugo Pasta Glasgow - I’m local, I eat a lotta pasta and you’re getting blanked if you don’t behave!"

@fourthh12 posted: "Sugo Pasta Kitchen it sounds like the Glasgow company is doing everything above board. It sounds like they did ‘google potential names’ and discovered there was no trademark in place but were kind enough to contact you anyway.

"Encouraging people not to use lawyers is shady - if you’re content you have the legal right to the name you should be happy to go ahead in that way."

Both restaurants have been approached for comment but Sugo Pasta in Glasgow have yet to respond.

 

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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