THE future of the famous Killie Pie could be under threat because of a legal battle over its naming rights.

The small steak pies, traditionally served up to fans at Kilmarnock Football Club, are being wheeched off the shelves in a dispute between the club and its match day caterers Browning Bakers of Kilmarnock over who owns the delicacy.

A bitter pie war erupted after Brownings, makers of the pie repeatedly named the best in the SPFL Premiership, made a bid to trademark the name, claiming they owned it.

In retaliation the club told the baker’s managing director John Gall that they were terminating their 13-year relationship with the firm to supply the pies from May 31 and instructed trademark attorneys Marks and Clerk to fight the Brownings bid to claim their right to the controversial Killie Pie. Gall responded by withdrawing all sponsorship from the club and announced plans to rebrand the pie until the end of the legal dispute.

The UK Intellectual Property Office, who rule over trademark disputes, said it could take up to a year to make a decision on the matter, meaning the Killie Pie name will disappear while the case rumbles on.

Gall said: “I was advised by trademark specialists last year that I had a right to trademark the name ‘Killie Pie’ because we owned it.

"We made the application just to make it official and ensure nobody else could use the name. Then two weeks ago I received a letter from the club stating they would be terminating their contract with us from May 31.

“They said it was because we had made the trademark application in bad faith. I’m disappointed. I am a supporter of the club and I have put over £1 million into it over the years.

“But they have made their position clear and there is no way back so I won’t be supplying them with pies next season.”

The club is set to argue that the Killie Pie was manufactured by local butcher WW Wales before Brownings became involved and their ownership of the trademark Killie gives them rights to it.

In a statement, the club said Brownings were "given the right to use the club's 'Killie' trademark on its pies" when the firm were brought in to supply the match-day tea-bar catering in 2003.

“The Killie Pie was first made not by Brownings but by other local bakers who won a best football pie in Britain award," it said.

“In 2003, it was agreed by the then Kilmarnock chief executive that Brownings would supply the match-day tea-bar catering and, as part of that agreement, Brownings were given the right to use the club’s ‘Killie’ trademark on its pies.”

Our Top Five Pies...

1. Killie Pie – Made with rich gravy and steak by Brownings the Bakers of Kilmarnock. It can be bought at Rugby Park and has won countless awards for being the best pie in football. Its reputation for quality precedes it.

2. Scotch Pie – According to the the Scotch Pie Club, The Kandy Bar in Saltcoats are world champions at making this great snack. It is a small, double-crust meat pie filled with minced mutton or other meat.

3. Macaroni Pie – This Gregg’s favourite with cheesy macaroni pasta and sauce inside has its origins in Caribbean and West Indian cuisine.

4. Steak Pie – New Year’s Day wouldn’t be the same without this traditional meaty dish, made from stewing steak and beef gravy, enclosed in a pastry shell. Sometimes mixed vegetables are included in the filling.

5. Bridie – A Scottish meat pastry that originates from Forfar in the 1850s. Forfar bakers traditionally use shortcrust pastry, but in the rest of Scotland, flaky pastry is preferred. The filling is made with minced steak, butter, beef suet and seasoning.