Rooster PR accuses Hotwire of plagiarism and sends 'cease and desist' letter over new brand

London agency Rooster PR has accused Hotwire of plagiarising its brand, and demanded that it takes down its relaunched website - but the global tech agency has called the demand "absurd".

Hotwire's strategy, which was unveiled on Wednesday (20 September), includes a re-design of its logo (below) and website.

CEO Barbara Bates said: "This is more than a brand overhaul. This is about the bold new direction we have taken with our business - to go beyond PR, beyond borders and beyond b2b tech. It's a celebration of our evolution as an agency and the limitless mindset we've created within our team and clients."

PRWeek understands that Rooster has sought legal advice, and has issued Hotwire with a cease and desist letter, demanding that the agency remove and recreate its branding and website.

Speaking to PRWeek, Rooster MD James Brooke said the firm had relaunched its proposition in September 2013 under the banner of 'Global Brand Communicators'.

He said: "Hotwire's CEO is on record in PRWeek as saying their agency should take more risks and be more aggressive as it looks to shake its humble persona. Fair play to them, but that shouldn't include plagiarising a competitor agency's brand positioning and website design. That's why we're taking this action to protect our intellectual property."

Bates said Hotwire will not cede to Rooster's demand, and told PRWeek today that Brooke's claim was "bordering on comical".

She said: "To say that Hotwire has copied Rooster PR’s brand is absurd, bordering on comical. We had never even heard of the firm before now.

"While the London agency is entitled to claim they’re global brand communicators, we’re quite comfortable in our messaging as well. With our ten wholly owned locations and three co-branded exclusive partners, covering 11 countries across the world, all delivering limitless results for our clients, we feel ‘the global communications agency’ is a good descriptor of our business.

"Hotwire is letting Rooster PR know that no copyright infringement has taken place, and our team is going to continue celebrating this new direction for the business and the exciting future ahead."

Earlier this year, a similar dispute arose when global software business Oracle Corporation pressured specialist property PR agency Oracle Group to rebrand. Read more on why the agency "reluctantly" agreed to change its logo design.

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