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Dutch court: Little Wendy's beats Big Wendy's


If the restaurant in the picture above doesn't look like your image of a Wendy's you're right on the mark, and at the crux of a long-standing legal battle that's once again been won by a tiny two-table-plus-carryout waterfront cafe in the Dutch town of Goes.

A Dutch court in Ten Bosch has handed the American fast food chain another rebuff in its twenty-year fight to take the name Wendy's away from Wendy's Fish and Chips, owned by Raymond Warrens. Like the Wendy's chain, his restaurant is also named for the founder's daughter. Despite offers, Warrens has said he will not sell the name.

In its latest case, the American Wendy's asked the court to revoke Dutch Wendy's right to use the name in the Benelux countries, saying that because it was only a tiny operation, it wasn't using the rights. The court tossed the claim, saying "The snack bar is using the name appropriately, and it is also on t-shirts, tickets and paper bags. There is no obligation for a neighbourhood snack bar to expand its business to other countries." Another court gave the same answer in 2017.

Ironically, American Wendy's was the first to use the name in the Benelux countries, opening several outlets in the early to mid 1980s and then closing them. Warrens opened his shop in 1988, and registered the name across Benelux in 1995; under European law, the right extends to the rest of the EU as well, thus blocking American Wendy's from a number of potential markets.

On the other hand, post-Brexit, it has now announced plans to open stores in the UK.

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