UK-based pub operator JD Wetherspoon has initiated legal proceedings against a Welsh establishment, the Bridge Head in Abergele, Denbighshire, for unauthorised use of its trademarked name.  

The dispute arose after the local pub rebranded itself with signage reading “Wetherspoons Ltd”, despite having no affiliation with the JD Wetherspoon chain. 

The legal claim follows a name change controversy in early 2024 when the Welsh pub abandoned its traditional Welsh language name, Pen-y-Bont, in favour of the new Bridge Head branding.  

“Wetherspoons Ltd is a legitimate name and an available name. It has been registered with Companies House,” a spokesman for the Bridge Head told North Wales Live in March 2024. 

According to The Caterer, documents from Companies House indicate that “Wetherspoons Ltd” was registered on 10 February 2024.

JD Wetherspoon, led by Sir Tim Martin, has protected its brand name, holding trademarks for JD Wetherspoon since 1993 and Wetherspoons since 2002. 

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The origin of the JD Wetherspoon name is twofold: “JD” comes from a character in the television series The Dukes of Hazzard, while “Wetherspoon” is the surname of one of Martin’s former schoolteachers.  

The Caterer quoted a JD Wetherspoon spokesman: “We were made aware of a pub in Abergele in Conwy using the name ’Wetherspoons Ltd’ on their signage. Despite requests to the pub owners to remove the reference to Wetherspoons, they refused, and we have therefore had to issue court proceedings asking the court order that they do so.  

“We hope that the matter can still be resolved amicably.” 

Since opening its first pub in Muswell Hill, London, in 1979, the company has expanded significantly.  

Under the leadership of Tim Martin, JD Wetherspoon now operates 850 pubs and hotels across the UK and has recently extended into Ireland, employing 40,000 people.