Supermarket giant Tesco was today accused of ”bullying” after it ordered a small independent pet food store to change its logo over claims it infringed copyright.
Bosses at Petco were stunned when they received a threatening letter warning them that their logo infringed Tesco ”intellectual copyright”.
The 3,000 sq ft pet food shop – which has an annual turnover of less than #250,000 – is a far cry from the multi-million pound worldwide Tesco brand.
But Petco has been forced to back down and develop a new logo because its owners do not have the money to fight the Tesco legal department in court.
Petco partner Elliott Martin, 36, today said any similarities between the Petco and Tesco logo was purely ”accidental”.
He said: ”If you come to our shop you can clearly see it’s not a Tesco. A Tesco has a huge supermarket, big entrance and rows of tills.
”We’re a small independent pet food shop with an annual turnover of less than a quarter of a million. There’s no way someone will walk in here thinking it’s Tesco.
”It’s pointless taking them on in the court because, although we might win, we can’t compete with their money and influence.
”They are just a big bully in the community and there is nothing you can do about them.
”We wanted to use red and blue and it just seemed to end up similar to Tesco, it was accidental.
”The name Petco has five letters and two of them are c and o so whatever logo we design it will always have some similarities with Tesco.”
Business partners Elliot Martin and John Dipple, 50, opened Petco in Haverhill, Cambs., in May, selling cut price pet food for dogs, cats and birds.
Tesco’s corporate and legal affairs team sent the firm a letter on October 4 with a photograph surveillance officers had taken of the Petco store and sign.
The letter demanded Petco change the ‘stylisation’ of the logo sign and remove the image on any paperwork.
It read: ”The overall impression created by the infringing logo is confusingly similar by impression created by the Tesco trademark.
”We therefore consider the use of the logo an infringement of intellectual property rights.
”Your use of the infringing logo suggests there is a connection between Tesco and yourselves, when in fact there is not.”
Petco backed down last month after realising that the cost of fighting the copyright issue in court to expensive.
Local firm Xcel Print and Promotion created a new logo free of charge removing the blue chevrons and replacing it with silhouettes of a cat and a dog.