They were Hobbit before Hobbit was cool. Techdirt:
The article isn’t clear if we’re talking about copyrights, trademarks or both, but either way the whole thing is pretty silly. Yes, the pub “features characters from Tolkien’s stories on its signs, has ‘Frodo’ and ‘Gandalf’ cocktails on the menu, and the face of Lord of the Rings film star Elijah Wood on its loyalty card.” But is this really harming the rightsholder? I’m sure that SZC is doing all sorts of ridiculously lucrative licensing deals for the upcoming Hobbit movie, and so it’s trying to clear the field of infringers, but all this does is make them look like massive, insensitive bullies. Hell, even Stephen Fry, who’s starring in the movie, has tweeted how ridiculous this is, calling it “pointless, self-defeating bullying.” But, you know, that’s pretty much how Hollywood functions these days.
What? It’s still not cool? Well, it has to be cooler than this sort of lawsuit, doesn’t it? We know the Tolkien estate is strict, but there’s a point at which such threats become counter-productive, isn’t there? What would Professor Tolkien himself thought of it?
Or maybe they are past caring about such things.
— Amy Clark (@TheatreGeekAmy) March 16, 2012