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Hi....

A little while back I posted a note about a run-in I was having with the giant French Connection Ltd clothing company (of fcuk fame). I was attempting to register "fcek the irish connection" as a trade mark here in the UK and FC were getting quite irate about it and tried to block the move with the UK Patent Office (as background, 'feck' is a mild irish expletive).

I'm a one-man band (wot4.co.uk) so had no real chance of winning as FC made it quite clear that they'd be taking this beyond the patent office if they lost there. I had some nice messages of support off here and promised I'd post an update, so here it is.

The UK Patent Office decided that there would be confusion between the two marks, or at least a risk of assumed association, as far as clothing was concerned but that there would NOT be confusion with some other goods (oddly, these were walking sticks, animal hides and mobile phone accessories!!). At this point, costs were starting to rise, but FC also knew that if I continued with my application for (say) mobile phone accessories, it might cost them a fortune to oppose and they might not win. So I negotiated a deal where no cotsts were awarded, I could sell off exisiting stock and (best of all) they agreed to allow me to keep "the irish connection" as a trade mark in its own right.

I guess it's a kind of victory for the little guy. I'm now working on exclusive "the irish connection" designs..........

Andy Carter
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, French Connection are notoriously litigious. Odd really as they only registered fcuk in 1997 and there was a band around in the early 90's called Family Cat UK who used to do FCUK t-shirts. Of course, they never got around to registering it as a trade mark and the rest, as they say, is history! You can still get those 'Bliar' t-shirts although not with fcuk on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Glad I stimulated some debate.....I do recall here in the UK, there was an ice cream seller with some italian name like 'giovanii who sold Giovani's ice cream. One of the big manufacturers then registered Giovani as a trade mark. The case went to court and the little guy won but only to the extent taht he could carry on in that area and had been doing what he was doing for many years. Sounds similar to the pizza case mentioned but with a different outcome. I guess unless you have the legal protection of a registered trademark, you are takingyour chance with the courts and, of course, it will cost lots and lots of money. The huge companies check every trademark registered that might be similar to theirs to see if they an object. That's what French Connection did with me. As Rodney points out. Registering something distinctive is a good idea as it doesn't cost all that much and can give you country, if not world -wide protection.
 
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