Pizza: articles

Pauly pizza’d off about new pizzeria

Writer, director and star of SBS television’s Pizza comedy Paul Fenech is “spewing” over a Melbourne pizza shop that he says is cashing in on the show’s cult following.

Mr Fenech, who started the Pizza story with a series of short films in the early 1990s, plays Pauly, one of two pizza delivery guys in the SBS comedy series set around Fat Pizza pizzeria.

He says a pizza shop in south suburban Chelsea, which uses Fat Pizza as its business name, was cashing in on the show which is into production of its third series on SBS and has spawned a stage show and full-length movie.

“The sleazy opportunists are infringing on my trademark,” Mr Fenech told AAP.

He said the owners themselves had alerted him to the name of their restaurant.

“They rang us to get us to launch their restaurant; they obviously just don’t realise what trademark is all about,” Mr Fenech said.

“I was dumbfounded, I was gobsmacked, I was bamboozled.”

He said the pizza shop proprietors were not only taking the Fat Pizza name, but were also using the show’s identifiable artwork.

“I can only describe the guy as a stooge, as we’d say in the show. It’s so blatant and so ridiculous.”

Mr Fenech said he would pursue legal action for what he believed was a blatant rip-off of his intellectual property.

“The lawyers will make the moves. I am the master of Fat Pizza.

“I would advise anyone who is a fan of the show not to shop there. They are just ripping us off.”

The Pizza crew have just finished shooting a third series which will screen on SBS from July 21.

A spokesman for the Chelsea Fat Pizza store said the store’s name had drawn no inspiration from the movie of the same name and the pizzeria featured in the SBS television series.

The spokesman, who declined to be named, said the owners had originally planned on calling the business Phat Pizza.

He said when they went to register the name with Consumer Affairs Victoria they had been allowed Fat Pizza and opted for the more conventional spelling.

The spokesman said he had contacted Mr Fenech out of courtesy to let him know they would be using the name Fat Pizza.

“He rang me back and said we couldn’t use it because he so-called owned the name Fat Pizza,” the spokesman said.

“I said ‘how can you own the name? You’re just an Australian production company that’s created one movie and you have one little show on SBS’.”

Mr Fenech said the business would have to pay him royalties, the spokesman said.

“He sent out some correspondence all right, which was a sue letter for $5000 … I reckon it’s a bit stupid,” the spokesman said.

“Reason being we’ve got nothing to do with the show, we don’t copy any of the show, we’re not even styled like it.

“I reckon I make better pizzas then he ever will.”

A spokeswoman for Consumer Affairs Victoria said the business had registered the name in May 2003 through proper channels and it was not currently registered by any other Australian company.

However she said trademark and intellectual property issues did not fall under the authority’s jurisdiction.

July 8 2003