Chef James Cochran hits out against previous employer for trademarking name and recipes

The Staff Canteen

James Cochran has publicly hit out against his previous employer James Cochran EC3 for offering licenses to use his name and recipes.

The website, which states 'trademarked for a reason' in the top corner, was set up by Rayuela Ltd prior to James’ appearance on Great British Menu. It offers recipe license plans with various options, including a 'Single Recipe Licence' priced at £25 which “grants you full rights to use James Cochran Trademark to promote a single dish from our catalogue on your menu.”

This follows James leaving the restaurant, James Cochran EC3 back in April.

In response to the website, James tweeted:

James Cochran chef

This was then shared and replied to by many members of the chef community, including Ellis Barrie who said:

The restaurant’s account (@jcochranchef) then replied, stating that the brand and name were legally trademarked and citing the UK Patent Act 1977 “which states that owner of all IP (inc trademarks) will be the employer.”

Food critic Jay Rayner has also tweeted about the matter. He shared a screenshot of the 'FAQ' section of the website and said: "...In their FAQ they freely admit they are cashing in on his forthcoming appearance on Great British Menu".

James told The Staff Canteen: “When GBM finished filming last December, they basically trademarked my brand and name behind my back. When I left in April, I went online to complete the trademark legislation and I found out that they’d already done it.”

He added: “We are planning to take legal action but I’m opening my restaurant this week so as you can imagine, a lot of funds have gone into that. It’s something that we want to do.”

In a statement yesterday from Rayuela Ltd, they responded to this claim and said: "James’ participation in The Great British Menu has neither been commercially exploited nor brought discenable commercial benefit to the company to date. Firstly, the series, which was filmed last year, has experienced a number of delays in coming to air over which the owners of the James Cochran brand have had no control and could not have predicted."

Credit: jessicajillphotography
Credit: jessicajillphotography 

Their representative told The Staff Canteen: "James Cochran is trademarked in the same way that most businesses that rely on the investment of somebody who isn’t the named person are trademarked. James was never a business owner in the restaurant. Investors being asked to put up hundreds of thousands of pounds generally want some kind of guarantee of that business. So James Cochran the brand is trademarked. The website hasn't been launched yet but the owners are quite clear on there about what they're planning to do. A statement will be released in the next few days.”

They added: “I can’t comment on whether there’s going to be any legal action but there have already been breaches.”

James explained the ‘breaches’ further – and said: “I did a pop-up in Whitstable, where I’m originally from at this tiny little restaurant and they put ‘Chef James Cochran is taking over’ and they rang up saying ‘if you use this name, we’re going to sue you’."

The statement from Rayuela Ltd went on to say: "Along with a broad range of misconceptions being repeated in the public domain—such as the factually incorrect statement that James Cochran the chef is disallowed from using his own name—the owners of the James Cochran trademark are disappointed that no one has reported that not only have they attempted to negotiate with James at various points regarding his acquiring ownership of the trademark, but they remain open to negotiation."

James' new restaurant 1251 is opening on Tuesday, August 28th, located at 107 Upper Street in Islington. The menu is inspired by James' Scottish and West Indian heritage, as well as taking some influences from Asian cuisine and will also showcase the best of local produce from his home county, Kent. 

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st August 2018

Chef James Cochran hits out against previous employer for trademarking name and recipes