OWNERS of the Ritz wedding and conference venue in Desborough have been ordered to stop using the name by lawyers for the world famous London hotel.
Businessman Kris Malde, who bought The Ritz in Desborough and spent £1m giving it a facelift, has received a letter from London law firm Ashurst, which represents Ellerman Investments Ltd, owners of the plush Piccadilly venue.
The lawyers say its clients are concerned Mr Malde’s venue, in the less salubrious surroundings of Station Road, Desborough, is using its trademark.
The lawyers say Ellerman Investments owns a number of registrations around the world for the name Ritz, including those registered for banqueting services, the provision of conferences and exhibitions and entertainment services.
Their letter states: “As you are no doubt aware, The Ritz Hotel was opened by Cesar Ritz in 1906, and since then its owners have built up a very substantial reputation and goodwill throughout the world in The Ritz Hotel (which is known throughout the world as The Ritz) and the Ritz name in connection with hotel, restaurant and catering services, among many others.”
It goes on: “As with any valuable property, our clients cannot allow their trademarks to be used without consent.”
Mr Malde’s family business was originally told he must comply by Wednesday last week (December 19), but the deadline has since been extended to the new year.
Mr Malde (43) of Malde Holdings, based in north London, said: “They are taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
“The Ritz has been operating in Desborough, to my knowledge, since the 1930s.
“We are a small family business, trading in difficult times and running a conference centre in a rural community in Northamptonshire.
“What possible threat could we be to The Ritz Hotel in London?
“When I opened the letter I thought it was a joke.
“I hope the company which owns The Ritz in London will reconsider its options.”
Ashurst states in the letter that its clients take any infringement of their valuable intellectual property rights extremely seriously.
The Ritz in Desborough stood unused for several years before being bought by the Malde family.