Compass Coffee – the award-winning coffee shop set up in Compass House on Penarth Marina is being forced to change its name because of legal action by firm in Sussex called “The Coffee Compass”.
Compass Coffee was originally opened in May 2014 at Compass House at the Marina by the well-known boat dealer Dave Evans in association with his daughter Kate Watts.
Mr Evans’s long-established boat dealership Compass Yachts (formerly Cardiff Boat Sales) had been operating from the premises since the Marina was opened in the 1980s. He had a long battle with the then Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council to get planning permission for the new coffee-shop venture.
Once the doors were open however, the business took off. Kate operated Compass Coffee on the ground floor whilst her dad Dave ran the yacht brokerage Compass Yachts on the first floor. In October 2015 however Mr Evans sadly passed away at the age of 68 and in December that year both businesses changed hands.
Compass Coffee was then acquired by Marcus Hill – with business partner Craig Pugh – and was soon winning accolades and awards for the quality of the fare offered at the popular waterside location.
Now however Mr Hill has been contacted by lawyers representing Mr Richard Jansz, founder of a firm called “The Coffee Compass“ – a “coffee roastery” in Wick, Sussex – claiming that “The Coffee Compass” owns the trademark for the word “compass”.
They have given Mr Hill just six weeks to change the name of Penarth’s Compass Coffee. Lawyers say that the word “coffee” is permissible – but that it’s the combination with the word “compass” that causes the problem.
In Sussex, Mr Jansz says he has been in business since 1992 and alleges that Compass Coffee in Penarth will “infringe” upon his business name if it carries on trading using, as he puts it, “our name”.
[ PDN Note: English Grammar teachers may rally to the defence of Penarth’s Compass Coffee. The claim that it is using “the same name” as “The Coffee Compass” seems debatable given that the word “coffee” in “The Coffee Compass” is a classifying adjective – whereas, in “Compass Coffee”, it’s a noun.]
Now however Penarth’s Compass Coffee is turning to its customers to help and asking them to suggest new names for Compass Coffee . Possible alternative names can be submitted on Facebook and there’s a £30 prize on offer for the best.