Harry Potter and the threat of legal action

Cafe receives warning from Warner Bros over afternoon teas

A small café business in the South West has clashed with Warner Bros, amid claims that it has infringed on the entertainment giant’s copyright.

The Flower Café, based in Plymouth, had been threatened with legal action following the recent launch of Harry Potter-themed afternoon teas.

Warner Bros, which made the films based on JK Rowling’s famous children’s series, had written to the establishment demanding that they change the name.

Following the correspondence, the family-run business has now rebranded the offerings as Wizards Afternoon Tea.

The café is run by Shelley Whiting and her mum Michelle, and has been operating on the Barbican, near the harbour of the Devon town, for the past five years. The teas which prompted the row only started a few weeks ago.

In a statement on their Facebook page, the owners expressed their frustration.

“Due to some ‘delightful’ person contacting Warner Bros and the infringement of ‘copyright’ and those pesky ‘licensing laws’, our tiny little family-run cafe has been advised to change the name of one of our Afternoon Teas…

“We will now patiently await an email or call from the Big Guy in the North Pole to tell us we are unable to use the wording ‘Christmas Afternoon Tea’.”

The sell-out teas had invited customers to dress as characters from the Harry Potter series and had proven hugely popular with locals.

The family has not issued an official statement at this stage, but a number of patrons had spoken in support of the café on social media.

The alleged infringement of intellectual property is not the first time that a small company has ended up on a collision course with a major player in the entertainment industry.

Back in 2011, The Hungry Hobbit café, in Moseley, Birmingham, had been threatened with legal action by the estate of fantasy author JRR Tolkien and Middle Earth Enterprises.