A Yorkshire bakery claims it has been forced to change the name of one of its best-selling scones after a request by famous tearoom and bakery Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate.
Shipley-based Just Desserts launched its Fat Rascals scone more than two-and-a-half years ago, but has now had to change the product’s name after receiving a letter from Bettys, warning that the product risked infringing one of its trademarks.
Fat Rascals are traditional fruited scones, made with currants, citrus peel, almonds and cherries, which have been produced in Yorkshire for centuries. Bettys trademarked the term in 2008, unbeknown to Just Desserts, and also owns trademarks for the terms ‘Little Rascal’, ‘Yorkshire Fat Rascal’ and ‘Rascal’.
Sales of the product at Just Desserts have doubled since January, putting it among the company’s top 25 best-sellers, but it has now decided to rebrand.
James O’Dwyer, managing director, Just Desserts, said: “When we received notification from Bettys to stop using the Fat Rascals name, our bakery team rose to the challenge and eventually came up with a new name - Yorkshire Scallywags - which we think is a fitting description. We have also changed the look of our scone, so that it does not resemble the appearance of the Bettys product. But they cannot trademark taste and our customers love our ‘posh scone with knobs on’.”
Bettys has a history of trying to defend its trademarks. The company successfully objected to an application from Wigan-based Rivington Foods to trademark the term Chocolatey Rascal for a biscuit product in 2012. In 2008 Bettys launched a legal challenge to invalidate the trademark for a snack product called Fat Batty, made by Yorkshire-based Cheese & Co, which was ultimately unsuccessful.
A Bettys spokesperson said: “We created the recipe and look of the Bettys Fat Rascal three decades ago and, since then, this plump, fruity and freshly baked scone has won a special place in the hearts of our customers. We’ve been advised to protect the Fat Rascal name for future generations of Bettys customers. It’s what any business – large or small – would do.”