Exmouth pizza wars

PUBLISHED: 12:22 01 August 2011

Mike McCullagh, owner of Minnies Pizza Deliveries and Eatery in Exmouth. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 8085-30-11AW

Mike McCullagh, owner of Minnies Pizza Deliveries and Eatery in Exmouth. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 8085-30-11AW

Archant

Pizza wars have broken out in Exmouth between a town centre, family business and the Domino’s chain.

Mike ‘Micky’ McCullagh, of Minnies Pizzas, has been told he faces legal action by Domino’s Pizza because his pizza names imitate theirs.

Mr McCullagh, 65, said he feels ‘bullied’ by Domino’s Pizza - due to open a stone’s throw away from Minnie’s.

The father-of-two, who has run Minnies with his partner , Joyce, since 1998, claims the American chain is using heavy-handed tactics.

He said: “The Yanks are coming. They have come into Exmouth - and now they are telling us how to run our business.

“We received the letter by recorded delivery and we were gobsmacked.

“We will not be intimidated or terrorised, but we don’t want a legal punch-up.

“It’s Big Brother. They are using the Americanised technique of suing everyone in sight - and bullying.”

Domino’s Pizza has complained about the similarities between Minnies pizza names Mighty Meat, Full House, Pepperoni Passion and its own registered trademark names.

It has also complained Minnies’ use of American Hot, Hot & Spicy, Vegetarian Supreme, Mixed Grill and Extravaganza mirrored its unregistered marks, which Domino’s is claiming trade mark rights over.

Domino’s said Mr McCullagh was misleading the public with the use of the names – saying it gave the impression Minnies was connected to the American pizza chain.

The letter states ‘this is damaging the goodwill in our brand and must cease immediately, as it constitutes as passing off and is unlawful’.

Domino’s has ordered Minnies to change the names of its pizzas, agree never to use similar names in the future, destroy their menus, ensure Minnies’ employees are bound by the agreement – and any future owner of Minnies Pizzas.

Mr McCullagh said he was ‘happy’ to change the wording of his menu, but refused to be legally bound.

He said: “Domino’s has got Mighty Meaty. We have got Mighty Meat - do they want to trade mark the word ‘pizza’ as well?

“As they are going to involve our staff, and make them responsible, we are obviously going to take legal advice.”

A Domino’s spokeswoman said: “We issued Minnies with a cease and desist letter due to the various trade mark infringements made by Minnies Pizza.

“We do not wish to upset the owner of Minnies, but must protect the Domino’s brand and its reputation at all times.”

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