War breaks out in London’s Great Portland Street between Engine’s Dave the consultancy and UKTV’s Dave the TV station

This could get nasty, two neighbours in London’s Great Portland Street (formerly the capital’s rag trade area, now home to agencies and the like) are battling in the European courts over the use of the rather unglamorous name ‘Dave.’

Dave the marketing consultancy is now owned by Peter Scott’s Engine Group mini-marcoms operation but when it began as an independent brand consultancy in 2003 it omitted to register its name, Dave.

In 2007 UKTV, formerly UK Gold, the digital broadcaster jointly owned by the BBC and Virgin Media decided to rebrand as Dave, the decision that made the broadcast reputation of its boss, former St Luke’s agency man David Abraham, now CEO of Channel 4.

Most of us assumed Abraham had named the channel after himself.

But now Dave the TV is trying to register Dave as a trademark in Europe and Dave the brand, in the person of founder and CEO Dan Bobby is objecting.

And the EU’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (bet nobody else has tried to register that name) has upheld Dave the brand’s initial complaint, preventing Dave the TV putting its moniker on its broadcast, advertising, production, distribution and interactive activities.

But it can (see FT link above, registration required) use it for fridge magnets and stationery, which probably isn’t much consolation.

Dave the brand’s Bobby says the problem has been compounded by the two companies’ close proximity just north of Oxford Street and he’s determined to fight the case all the way. You can imagine the problems, media buyers coming in off the street to buy a spot or two or his clients wandering into the wrong building to try to buy a bit of consultancy.

So will Dave the TV, whose channels also include Blighty, Eden,Good Food Channel and Yesterday, have to change its name?

Well it might do although a large cheque (and possibly a change of address) might assuage Dave the brand.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.