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Why Heston Blumenthal stuck knife into local Melbourne café: Fat Duck to open in Melbourne

Melinda Oliver /

Chef Heston Blumenthal is closing his famous UK restaurant The Fat Duck for renovations and relocating the restaurant and its staff to Melbourne for six months.

The three-Michelin-star-restaurant will open at Crown with the name The Fat Duck from February 2015 until mid-2015.

Blumenthal held a press conference at Crown this morning to announce the “entire staff” from the UK restaurant are relocating for the experience.

The restaurant space will then become Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.

The news explains a recent legal stoush between Heston Blumenthal and a local Melbourne café, which was previously called The Fat Duck and is now The Loose Goose.

In October 2013, co-owner of the Oakleigh South venue Kate Norris told SmartCompany that Blumenthal’s Sydney-based lawyers had written to demand her business change its name within seven days.

The letter said the name The Fat Duck was trademarked by Blumenthal.

Norris and her business partner sent the letter to their lawyer, who decided there was no point in fighting the case. Their lawyer felt that the cost of fighting for the name would have been beyond what the small business could invest.

However, Norris’s lawyer did push back to a degree, and told Blumenthal’s lawyers the business would need more time to facilitate the change, including finding a new name, re-doing its signage and replacing all marketing collateral.

Norris told SmartCompany when she originally researched the name before launching the 40-seat café around two years ago, The Fat Duck was available in Australia, and she was not aware that she should have also searched international trademarks.

It was not the first time Blumenthal’s lawyers have fought for the name in Australia. In 2011 they approached a Sydney restaurant that opened with the name The Fat Duck, which later changed to The Naked Duck.

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