Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Greene King have withdrawn the Lewes Arms Ale. Here follows the most recent exchange of letters.

17th October 2006
Dear Mr Brigden

I refer to your letter of 12 October addressed to Rooney Anand, our Chief Executive. It is my understanding that the beer, and therefore the pump clip, will be withdrawn for commercial reasons.

I would be grateful if you could confirm that the Council has no issue with the use of the Arms in relation to the pub itself.

Yours sincerely
Lindsay Keswick/Company Secteray

The response from Lewes Town Council

18th October 2006

Dear Mr Keswick

LEWES ARMS, Mount Place, Lewes, East Sussex – “Lewes Arms Bitter”

Thank you for your letter of 17th October regarding this issue.

I am pleased to learn that you intend to withdraw the pump-clip that bears our arms, although concerned at your statement that this is “for commercial reasons”. I hope that my original letter made it clear that no-one other than the Council may use these arms, and therefore the question is one of legal entitlement, not commercial expediency. Unlike a more modern trademark, we are not empowered to grant or licence the use of the arms and we alone may use them. I must, therefore, ask for your written undertaking that the Council’s armorial bearings will not be used by your company in connection with your trading activities.

As to the use in connection with the pub itself; this is not considered to be technically “use” in quite the same way. It is an accepted part of England’s heritage that pubs often took the name of their local manor or, in our case, the County Town in this way. The arms are seen as being merely “displayed”, as an adjunct to the name and related décor of the establishment and this is acknowledged as an historic and flattering arrangement to which the Lords of the Borough 300 years ago probably tacitly agreed! The Council does not propose any change to this custom, provided that the display is limited to decorative purposes and not extended to support commercial activity such as promotion of products or branding.

I trust that you find this position to be fair and reasonable.

Yours sincerely
Steve Brigden/Town Clerk

Thanks to Richard, a Friend of the Lewes Arms, for pointing us to another large business v local area row that we should consider - the recent case of Nike v Hackney Council
in the The Guardian Society section.


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