Whisky distillery loses legal fight to prevent developer using Tomatin name

A whisky firm in Scotland has lost a legal bid to prevent a hotel developer from using a similar name to it.

The Tomatin Whisky Distillery Limited launched a legal complaint against The Tomatin Trading Company (TTC) for using the same Highland village name in its branding.

The distillery owners argued that the name Tomatin is associated with its brand and that its use by the developer takes unfair advantage of its established reputation.

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However, Court of Session Judge Lady Wolffe said while there are some similarities between the two companies, consumers will be able to distinguish between the two.

Whisky distillery loses legal fight to prevent developer using Tomatin name

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In a written judgment on Wednesday, Lady Wolffe said: "In my opinion, the relevant public will not make a link between the two signs."

She added: "The relevant public, who will be consumers of Scotch whisky, will appreciate that the defender's (TTC) sign is used in relation to different goods and services than those offered by the pursuer (the distillery).

"They will realise that Tomatin is the name of the local area (such as by seeing the local signage); they are likely to see that the defender is using 'Tomatin' as a descriptor for the location of the development (once built) and will be able readily to distinguish it from the distillery, which is separately sign-posted."

The whisky firm, known for its flagship Tomatin single malt, has a visitor centre at its distillery in the village located near Inverness.

TTC has planning approval to build a hotel and retail complex near the distillery on the outskirts of Tomatin, beside the A9.

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