Conran in Power struggle over Zinc trademark

A four-letter word has come between two men deemed synonymous with a good evening out in London.

Sir Terence Conran, the stylish restaurateur, has launched legal action against Vince Power, who owns the Mean Fiddler chain of concert venues including The Forum in Kentish Town and The Grand in Clapham. At issue is Mr Power's new bar, Zn, which was known as the Zincbar when it opened in Kilburn High Road last December. According to a High Court writ issued last week, Sir Terence (pictured) has been the registered owner of the Zinc trademark, when the name is used in relation to restaurants, cafes and wine bars, since June 1995.

The trademark was registered to protect his latest business venture, a chain of French-style cafes to be called the Zinc Bar and Grill. The first is due to open just off Regent Street in August and will provide seating for 120 people.

He is unhappy that the Mean Fiddler's venture conflicts with his own. Although the Zincbar has changed its name to Zn, the chemical symbol for zinc, in an attempt to avert trouble, the writ still stands pending further legal advice. Joel Kissin, managing director of Conran Restaurants, said: "What does Zn mean? They've said anybody with A-levels or whatever will know what that means - zinc. So they haven't changed it. Supposing you opened a restaurant called Crown, and Terence Conran said he had that registered and you used a picture of a crown, it would still be a representation. What they have done is put a representation of zinc but it's still zinc."

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