Compass Coffee was set up at Compass House in Penarth Marina by the late Dave Evans – owner of Compass Yachts

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.

Compass Coffee in Penarth Marina was judged to be the best cafe/bistro in Wales

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.

Kate Watts started  the business with her father the late Dave Evans

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.

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  1. Christopher David says:

    Companies House search for entities using the name compass: 1,993 matches found. Maybe they need a better lawyer? Anyway name- Coffee Magnet- encompass the passion.

  2. Scootergirl says:

    What a load of bxxxxxxs how can a company own the name ‘compass’, I think Penarth Compass Coffee should fight this case.
    But I can understand if they don’t as I should imagine that it would be quite costly.
    What a shame

  3. I ain’t a lawyer, but I think the law is on Compass Coffee’s side here if they show some backbone.

    Copyright on names does not exist if there is no possibility of any confusion between the businesses – no matter who was first. See point two here:

    ‘Compass Coffee’ has the option to tell ‘Coffee Compass’ to sue immediately, and – in the meantime – to swivel and do one. Especially as there is also an American company called “Coffee Compass” ( which has not been similarly threatened with legal action despite being in the coffee roasting business.

    That is, it has the *exactly* the same name and business type as the English company making legal threats.

  4. mikeyorke says:

    I’m guessing they’ll be going after the other 2 companies of a similar name then.

    I’d tell them to go shove it

  5. June Hurley says:

    They can’t possibly be serious. How can they own the name Compass what is the Point (sorry for the pun lol) Why should Compass Cafe have to change name. We need to petition this .

  6. Nick Osborne says:


    I send an e-mail a few months ago regarding the fact that my sisters son Huw Kingston is world known for his stance on the issue of Plastics
    In the light of the Town Council coming up with ideas regarding the plastic issue.

    Huw lives in Australia if you go into his web site Huw Kingston you will see his history (a Penarth Family) He started in a small town in Australia where Coca Cola wanted to drill a well to extract water to bottle
    He started by asking shops to stop stocking water and the council put up fountains around the town to refill bottles it has now gone worldwide.

    I thought it would make a good article in the light of local ideas. I cannot believe people have not picked this up. He gives talks around the world.
    Kind Regards

    Nick Osborne

  7. Richard says:

    How gracious of the lawyers to say the word coffee is ‘permissible’ – !’m sure coffee #1 will be relieved.
    These people need to spend a couple of hundred quid – less than the cost of new signage, stationery etc – consulting a lawyer which I suspect will be money very well spent.

  8. Leigh A says:

    I’d tell the guys in sussex to “pi.. off” and then start crowd funding to fight them.

  9. OB says:

    Coffee Compass has no power to copyright the word “compass”, or “coffee” for that matter. It is not even in the same business and is so distant it cannot be considered to be in competition with Compass Coffee. Tell them you have no intention of changing your name; you’re taking legal advice and will hold them responsible for your costs if they go to court.

    • Peter Church says:

      Your logic is a wee bit flawed.
      I might start up a coffee company called
      Star Bucks Coffee
      But I think I would be done for “passing off”

      True Compass nor Coffee is not the issue but when you put them together “Compass Coffee” might be a problem if another firm was using that name already.

  10. Dawn Loring says:

    How can a coffee shop in Penarth be confused with a coffee roasting company in Sussex? some very good points made in above comments

  11. Andrew Worsley says:

    And your point in relation to this article Nick Osborne? or was that just a plug?.

  12. JP says:

    Am sure the guys could fight and win against this bullying nonsense, if not why not just become Compass House Coffee – or perhaps the Sussex guy thinks he owns the word Compass in the context of the building too ?

  13. Craig Pugh says:

    Hi guys, Thanks for your kind support….to say it’s been stressful and costly is an understatement! It’s nothing to do with Companies House as we are Compass Penarth LTD but “trading as” Compass Coffee. It’s the trading name they have the issue with.

    We have been to laywyers and have been seeking advise from several avenues but the matter of the fact is we don’t have a strong case and although it is very pathetic in our eyes we have to change the name.

    But hey ho everything happens for a reason and I’m sure we will make it work but once again thanks for your kind words.

  14. Frank Evans says:

    How about Compost Coffee.
    I could even alter their sign myself.

    • Frank Evans says:

      Or better still just rearrange the letters in compass
      Let me see….
      Got it
      “SOS Camp” Coffee

      Still nautical and not infringing any patents or copyright 😥

      • Scootergirl says:

        Don’t forget Frank that there is a long established product called ‘Camp Coffee’
        Something that is a particular favourite of mine
        So you may incur further problems with that name

      • Frank Evans says:

        Scooter girl yes I did know that. Hence the joke.
        You know haha 😀

    • June Hurley says:

      That’s a good one and then keep all the coffee used beans to sell as a skin scrub
      Big business old coffee beans for skin and for compost.

  15. Sword of Truth and Justice says:

    I would refer them to the response given in Arkell v. Pressdram

  16. Tim Russell says:

    Change the name to :
    Compass Café (nothing to do with Coffee Compass)

    • leighA says:

      Best suggestion to date😀

    • Richard says:

      Yes, this is it. No need to change the etching on your glass screens etc.
      You keep the marine theme but broaden the cafe’s remit from simply coffee.
      Great solution, I agree.

  17. Andrew Worsley says:

    I remember that case Sword of Truth and Justice … didn’t the accused get life ? and if I recall one of his legal team took his own life weeks later! . Plus one other of the legal team a female got bitten by a dog, yes , one of the classic cases im sure others are aware of the ruling that you allude to, well done for pointing it out.

  18. Craig Pugh says:

    Whilst Compass Cafe is a great and simple solution we are unable to use the word “Compass” so it’s a no go sadly

  19. Peter Church says:

    How about
    “Portway Coffee”

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