Last weekend brought us a story of a trade mark dispute that is yet another example of big business exerting its rights in a way that damages rather than enhances its reputation.
This time it is Tiffany Parmer a young beautician from Gloucester who is in the firing line. Tiffany set up her business in 2014. Things are going well and she has plans to expand. In April this year she was advised to register her brand ‘Cotswold Lashes by Tiffany’ as a trade mark. Her grandmother lent her the £600 she needed to do this. For this sum Tiffany covered three things, the eyelashes themselves, the beautician services and a beauty school. On making the application she came to the attention of Tiffany (the jeweller) who have people on watch to see what marks are being filed for and to object to ones that they consider are too close to their interests. What followed was that Tiffany received a very aggressive letter from Tiffany’s representatives demanding she withdraw the mark on the basis that it had the potential to confuse customers into believing there was a connection between the two businesses and in so doing, damage the reputation of Tiffany (the jeweller).
Really? Tiffany (the jeweller) may be suffering business damage but that is surely due to its own self destructive forces rather than anything Tiffany Parmar has done. Tiffany has written to Tiffany (the jeweller) to make her views clear. Good for her standing up to them. It is clear that Tiffany’s business is not a threat to Tiffany and that the attempt to prevent her from securing a trade mark in Cotswold Lashes by Tiffany goes well beyond what is reasonable and fair.
Tiffany, the jeweller does of course have a understandable interest in protecting its brand against another jewellery brand. If Tiffany Parmar had sought to protect her brand for jewellery there is an obvious red flag for the jeweller. But Tiffany Parmar did no such thing. As a belt and braces super cautious approach I can understand and even excuse a letter which merely pointed out to Tiffany that Tiffany (the jeweller) may see a conflict should she expand into jewellery and asking her not to. But what happened here is the type of corporate bullying that can give a company a bad name.
I hope Tiffany can take heart from the recent struggle of Monsta Pizza reporting in this blog in September.
Written by Margaret Briffa