Merlin Entertainments has started legal action against the London Bridge Experience which it believes is an attempt to copy its own London Dungeon attraction.
The London Bridge Experience opened in February underneath London Bridge but has a shop front at the bottom of Duke Street Hill within sight of the London Dungeon opposite. Last weekend the Dungeon organised visitors to queue to the east along Tooley Street away from Duke Street Hill.
Merlin believes that the London Bridge Experience is transparently designed to mirror the Dungeon's concept and marketing positioning. It describes the Bridge's leaflets as "copycat marketing literature" which is deliberately intended to confuse visitors.
"Merlin has invested massive resources in creating the Dungeon concept over many years, and has built an enviable reputation for the brand" said David Sharpe, Merlin's London Divisional Director.
"We also invest significant resources to continually update the London Dungeon, to ensure both its quality and that it delivers very high levels of customer satisfaction. We will therefore fiercely protect the goodwill in the London Dungeon brand, particularly from such blatantly parasitic behaviour."
Merlin claim to have considerable evidence that some visitors have been deliberately confused into thinking that the two attractions are related or even the same.
Mr Sharpe added: "While we believe in fair competition, the type of illegal activity we have seen from the London Bridge Experience is totally unacceptable, and is not something we will tolerate. Our proposal for a consensual resolution having been rejected, we have no alternative but to put a stop to this behaviour through formal legal channels in order to protect the London Dungeon brand."
London Bridge Experience owner Danny Scriven said: “We are very disappointed to find ourselves at the mercy of the Merlin Group. Ever since we opened they have made repeated demands to us to restrict our activities because the London Bridge Experience is located close to their London Dungeon attraction. We have a great haunted attraction ourselves and we will fight on.
“Had we agreed to Merlin's original conditions which included not doing any promotions within 200 metres of the London Dungeon we would not have even been able to go into our own attraction. It is ludicrous. We would love the public to support us in our fight.”
In June Southwark Council refused retrospective planning permission for the London Bridge Experience panels under London Bridge. The planning authority ruled that the facade "fails to preserve or enhance the setting of the listed building".