Hollywood company sues British pub over its name
A popular pub in Southampton is part of a legal battle with Hollywood because of its name.
The 20-year-old themed bar, named the Hobbit, has visitors from all over the country. It features colourful paintings of characters from the novel of the same name and sells cocktails named after the characters, with drinks named Bilbo, Frodo and Gandalf.
But US film company Middle-earth Enterprises, which owns the film rights to JRR Tolkien's work, claims that the pub is profiting from its connection with the franchise.
The pub has been told that it must completely rebrand, which means changing its name, drinks, artwork and decor, before the end of May or face legal action.
A campaign to save the Hobbit Pub has been launched and so far has 3,000 followers.
Landlady and Tolkien fan Stella Roberts told the Daily Mail that she was taking legal advice, but did not have the resources to fight a multi-million pound company. She said:
"The pub has been called The Hobbit for more than 20 years and it has never been a problem.
It has always been a tribute to Tolkien's work and not a case of us jumping on a commercial bandwagon."
A multi-million pound blockbuster of the The Hobbit is due to be released later this year.