Nando’s is unhappy with a restaurant it thinks infringed on its copyright.
The chicken chain is concerned an eatery called Fernando’s, in Oxford Road, Reading, may be trying to mimic it by using similar cockerel and chilli images.
Nando’s also thinks its name is too similar.
But Fernando’s director Asam Aziz swears this is not the case after receiving a letter from Nando’s laywers on Tuesday accusing it of infringing on its intellectual property.
He claimed he actually got the idea for the restaurant from TV dating show Take Me Out, where couples take a trip to the island of Fernando’s, in Tenerife.
‘For the moment I’m left aghast. I really don’t know what to do to be honest with you because we had no intention of copying Nando’s,’ Mr Aziz said.
‘We wanted to sell peri peri chicken, being of Portuguese origin, we use the chicken which I believe is a Portuguese chicken and the name Fernando’s is a Portuguese name, it’s also a place which is famous from TV show Take Me Out.’
He claimed the real reason Nando’s was going after them was because their ‘chicken was better’.
Mr Aziz said his company was too small to take on Nando’s and was worried legal action could force it to close.
He added: ‘I’m frustrated. We’re a new business and I’ve invested every penny I have, a potential law suit will make me go under.’
He said he was meeting intellectual property specialists next week to see where he stood.
Mr Aziz said: ‘The worst case scenario is I’ll have to give up the rights to Fernando’s, I’ll have to give up the rights to the chicken and I’ll have to give up rights to the chilli and start re-branding from the beginning, so I’ll have to have a new name, new rights and everything.’
But he promised his chicken recipe would not change.
A Nando’s spokesman said: ‘We are really proud of our brand and we know it means a lot to our customers.
‘That’s why whenever we think there is trademark infringement we try to sort it out amicably.
‘We have asked this restaurant to re-brand because we believe it is trying to benefit from some of things that make us who we are – our menu, logo and even our name.’