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Newcastle, 28 December 2022

Bar and Restaurant Bartholmew's has being forced to undertake rebrand following a trademark infringement being lodged against the business. The owners of Brisbane’s Mantle Group Hospitality, best known for their Pig ‘n Whistle venues, is behind the legal action. 

Bartholomew’s owners, the Elsley family, who have been operated under the previous brand since 2018, were initially notified in May 2021 of the claimed infringement. The notice requires the venue to cease trading under the Babylon brand, and any close variants of the brand. After initially challenging the notice on the basis that the two venues were both very different, and that the Newcastle venue has been in business for longer, the costs were considered too high to risk taking the challenge further. As a result, the business has transitioned its name to Bartholomew’s as of January 2023. 

“It’s a real kick in the teeth for us. Having ridden through the challenges of the last few years in the hospitality industry, this was not something we were prepared for” said one of the owners, Phil Elsley. “Their trademark wasn’t in place when we opened the doors. The first thing we knew about there being a potential conflict was when we heard from their lawyers ordering us to close the doors and pay them a substantial sum of money. It has cost us over $200,000 to try and defend ourselves against this claim. We were confident of defending ourselves but in the end, we just couldn’t risk the huge financial cost. The Mantle Group is one of Queensland’s largest hospitality operators and are expanding Australia wide. They had a very slick legal team and a lot of money behind them. Being a local family run business, this was a lot to take on. We believe in our brand and were confident that we could bring the same wonderful experience under a different name”. 

The change will be in name only. The local owners still plan on trading in the same fashion to minimise the impact on trade.  “We know that locals love our venue. It’s an incredibly unique building and we are so lucky to have a great following.” The rebranding will be phased in slowly to allow everyone to adjust, with the deadline for transition in early January 2023. 

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