Coventry & Warwickshire

Godiva chocolate firm 'reassures' Coventry

Pru Porretta Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Coventry's "current" Lady Godiva, Pru Porretta, said the move was "very sad"

A Belgian chocolate company has "reassured" residents of Coventry it has "no wish to challenge" the city's association with Lady Godiva.

Godiva Chocolatiers had sparked anger in the city after it warned the Lady Godiva pub in Geneva it had breached its intellectual property.

Coventry - which has coffee shops, a sports team and a festival named after its famous former resident - feared its claim was under threat.

But the firm said it respects the ties.

'Narrow dispute'

Coventry's links with the Lady Godiva legend go back to medieval times, when the wife of the Earl of Mercia supposedly rode naked round the city in a bid to relieve taxation on the poor.

Pru Porretta, who was responsible for reviving Coventry's annual Dame Goodyver's Daye - in which she plays the famous horsewoman - said the firm's actions were "very sad".

However, the company said it wanted to assure establishments in and around Coventry that use the name Lady Godiva it had never wished to challenge them.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The company says it is respectful of Coventry's close association with Lady Godiva

"The legend of Lady Godiva has already taken its rightful place in history and we are as respectful as anyone of Coventry's close association with it," the firm said, in a statement.

It said it was responding to a "specific situation" in Geneva, because it felt the branding of the pub was "confusingly similar" to its own stores and cafes.

"This is a narrow dispute where we feel we are entirely within our rights," the statement added.

Glen Simons, who owns the pub, said he was consulting his lawyers about the claim.

Coventry City Council said it welcomed the news that the city's claim to Lady Godiva's name was not under threat.

"Coventry is very proud of its link with the story of Lady Godiva," it said.

"This statement from Godiva Chocolatiers is very welcome and will be a relief to the many Coventry companies who have proudly chosen to share the name Godiva."

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