A bakery and football club are embroiled in a legal battle over ownership of the award-winning “Killie Pie”.
Kilmarnock Football Club has severed a 13-year relationship with caterers Brownings Bakers over its attempt to claim the popular pie for its own.
The dispute was sparked when the bakery sought to trademark the match-day delicacy.
Managing director John Gall said he was informed by email that the bakery’s contract with the club would be terminated on May 31.
He said the pie would have to be re-branded while the legal dispute, which could take a year to resolve, rumbles on.
Mr Gall said: “For years we’ve been making the Killie Pie and supplying the football club, doing the match-day catering. We were using the name Killie Pie.
“The amount of money that I’ve given them in sponsorship, for the name Killie Pie, for the catering – I’m well over a million pounds that I’ve put into the football club.
“Two weeks ago I got an email from the club secretary Michael Johnson that he’s terminating my contract as of May 31, totally out of the blue.
“They’ve also said that come May 31 we can’t use the name Killie, so we’re going to rebrand it.
“We’re going to keep this going for as long as it needs until they withdraw their objection and if they’re not going to withdraw their objection, we will just see them in court over it. We’re going to fight it all the way.”
The football club said it is the registered holder of the “Killie” trademark and it has instructed its trademark attorneys, Marks & Clerk, to oppose Brownings’ application.
A statement said: “In 2003, it was agreed by the then Kilmarnock FC chief executive that Brownings would supply the match-day tea bar catering and as part of that agreement, Brownings were given the right to use the club’s “Killie” trademark on its pies.
“This was a commercial agreement which included an annual sponsorship spend on advertising and hospitality but with no additional charge for Brownings’ use of the ‘Killie’ trademark.
“The club has supported the Brownings business for 13 years by allowing them royalty-free use of the club’s trademark “Killie” on pies. In 2003, Brownings’ sales of the “Killie Pie” were a few thousand per annum.”
The statement continues: “In the summer of 2015, Brownings opened discussions for an exclusive trademark licence agreement through their solicitors but subsequently, without informing the club, Brownings applied for their own trademark for the ‘Killie Pie’ name.
“The club has instructed its trademark attorneys, Marks & Clerk, to oppose Brownings’ trademark application.
“The club has also taken expert legal advice from Burness Paull LLP and, based upon that, has served notice that all contractual arrangements with Brownings will end on May 31, 2016. Both Marks & Clerk and Burness Paull are confident of successfully protecting the club’s ownership of its trademark.”