Hobbit cafe caught up in legal row

By Laura Payne 22/03 Updated: 27/03 11:42

Buy photos » Wendy Busst with Danielle Busst and Sam Ford outside the under threat Hungry Hobbit. 12.012.042.sol.jg

A LORD of the Rings-inspired cafe is being forced to change its name because of a legal row.

The Hungry Hobbit, owned by Wendy Busst from Solihull, is at the centre of a dispute after The Saul Zaentz Company, which owns some JRR Tolkien brands, accused it of copyright infringement.

The cafe in Moseley is close to Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog which Tolkien explored as a youngster and they inspired his writing.

Mrs Busst told the Observer: "We are just a small cafe. I don't want to change the name but we may not have a choice.

"We are near where Tolkien was inspired for his books and it's something we should be proud of.

"It's just the name, I don't sell anything all I do is recommend places for people to walk. I feel like we are being bullied. I didn't realise it would be such a big thing."

The cafe has been talking to campaigners from Southampton pub The Hobbit which has also been contacted by lawyers acting for the company.

Facebook and Twitter campaigns have been started in support of both businesses and celebrities have thrown their weight behind them with Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen voicing their support for the cause.

Mrs Busst said they may delete the 'H' from the name and call the cafe the Hungry 'Obbit or turn one of the 'b's around but she says the change will cost her as she will have to spend money on new uniforms, signs and menus.

She said customers have also been suggesting ideas for new names.

"All the customers are supportive of us. We get lots of people coming in from the community like the police and nurses, it's a nice friendly place for people to come."

After her latest conversation with a solicitor from America Mrs Busst is currently waiting for the next call to see whether they approve of any of the potential name changes.

To support the cafe search Campaign to save the Hungry Hobbit Cafe on Facebook.

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