The Copthorne Village Association is to receive an apology after being threatened with legal action – for using the name Copthorne on its website.
Brand protection officers, acting on behalf of Millenium and Copthorne Hotels, sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter to the group saying the site – www.copthornevillage.org – was infringing its trademark.
The chain took its name from the village after opening its first hotel there in 1972.
Furious association members feared more than 25 other businesses named after the 1,000-year-old village would also be contacted.
Retired GP Jonathan Royds-Jones, 65, who has lived in Copthorne for 40 years, said: “The letter was rude, offensive and very curt. We warned others they might get the same letter and they were up in arms – everybody was furious.”
The letter, which was sent on April 16, told the group to disable its website content within five days, stating the use of the word Copthorne would “confuse” the public and cause “substantial damage” to the “goodwill and reputation” of the trademark.
Paul Arnold, 56, chairman of the Copthorne Social Club, said: “They can’t monopolise the name of the village. What next, the football team, the cricket club? If they email us I will tell them where to go.”
The hotel chain said the letter had been “sent in error” by brand monitoring agency Mark Monitor, which would be contacting the website administrator to apologise.