Worker bees in demand

Written by Margaret Briffa | January 14, 2019

Trade Marks

Cycling in London can be a hair raising experience at times. All respect to Manchester City Council who last summer announced plans to create the largest cycling network in the country with 1,000 miles of routes including segregated cycle lanes.

Manchester Council planned to call the scheme Beeline. The worker bee being an important City’s emblems and can be seen throughout the City, but its plans immediately ran into trouble with a London based company, Relish Technologies who have registered a trade mark for Beeline to protect its route finding app and its navigational compass. Relish claim the name chosen by Manchester City Council would cause confusion which would be detrimental to its brand. In an embarrassing twist, Relish directed their complaint to Chris Boardman who is not only Manchester’s walking and cycling commissioner but also an investor in Relish which is funded by Kickstarter.

Boardman doesn’t see the problem and in fact has suggested that the use of Beeline for the cycling network would be beneficial to Relish. But Relish don’t see it that way so Manchester Counsel have changed their branding to Bee Network. The transport department in Manchester has also registered Beeways and Follow the Bee which no doubt it will consider using as the project develops. A consultation on the route is still underway but with any trade mark dispute out of the way, it seems that locals can look forward in confidence to a safer and more efficient cycling environment.

What isn’t clear is the current relationship between Boardman and Relish Technologies. We know from our work how valuable it is to get an investor on board who is or could be a champion of your brand and Boardman could have been that person to Relish.

Written by Margaret Briffa

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