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Someone is copying my brand. What should i do?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by foshan, Jul 24, 2017.

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  1. foshan

    foshan UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 1
    Hi all,

    This is such a great forum with lots of good advice, so i though i would ask for advice on branding.

    I have spent the last year and a half building my brand for my business. We are becoming quite popular in our area due to our branding.

    Since April of this year i noticed that someone in the same industry had copied our logo and brand with a similar name.

    I am halfway through trademarking our company name and logo but it is not completed yet.

    The company does not operate in our area but has started following us through a social media platform and has even sent us a message to ask us where we get certain equipment from.

    It is a new company and from their social media platform it looks like they started up roughly the same time as we did.

    It's not the name i worry about but the logo which has definately been copied from us, and could cause confusion.

    Any advice would be very much welcome.

    Thanks
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: foshan Member since: Nov 13, 2013
    #1
  2. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    26,286 3,218
    What legal protection does your logo have at the moment?
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #2
  3. foshan

    foshan UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 1
    It has none as i am in the process of trademarking it at the moment.
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: foshan Member since: Nov 13, 2013
    #3
  4. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Legend Full Member

    10,685 4,553
    Let me put it this way - if I were to be advising them, I'd tell them to register that marque quickly and then hit you with a 'passing-off' suit.
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #4
  5. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    26,286 3,218
    So legally they are doing nothing wrong at the moment?
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #5
  6. foshan

    foshan UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 1
    This is the reason i'm trademarking it, but it all takes time. It would be nice if it was a bit of a quicker process
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: foshan Member since: Nov 13, 2013
    #6
  7. MikeJ

    MikeJ UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,909 1,755
    Regardless of trademarks, they've infringed your copyright by using your logo.
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: MikeJ Member since: Jan 15, 2008
    #7
  8. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Legend Full Member

    10,685 4,553
    This!

    A TM is best protected by registering it, but the moment you begin to use it, it enjoys a level of protection and you can still litigate for passing off.
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #8
  9. Jonathan Black

    Jonathan Black UKBF Contributor Free Member

    79 12
    Following you on social media seems like a strange move on their part if they are copying your brand! You would think they would want to keep a low profile..
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: Jonathan Black Member since: Jul 19, 2017
    #9
  10. foshan

    foshan UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 1
    This is what i thought. The name is similar but not exact which they had originally and is not the problem. The problem is that they have changed their logo to almost a copy of ours, so at a quick glance you would think it was ours. They might be a little nieve i'm not too sure, or damn right cheeky.

    I don't really know wether to mention it now or when our trademark is complete?
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: foshan Member since: Nov 13, 2013
    #10
  11. Jonathan Black

    Jonathan Black UKBF Contributor Free Member

    79 12
    Personally I would mention it now. It might be an honest mistake that could be resolved if you raise your concerns.

    Best of luck!
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: Jonathan Black Member since: Jul 19, 2017
    #11
  12. foshan

    foshan UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 1
    I am not too sure what to do. As my trademark is incomplete and if its not an honest mistake, they could oppose it and it would delay our protection.
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: foshan Member since: Nov 13, 2013
    #12
  13. JamesM

    JamesM UKBF Contributor Free Member

    91 11
    You're better off speaking to a solicitor. Even well-meaning people on forums might not be qualified to give you an accurate answer.
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: JamesM Member since: Aug 10, 2007
    #13
  14. Gecko001

    Gecko001 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    2,841 450
    As others have said, your logo has automatic copyright protection even if it is not trademarked.

    If they have copied the logo, then get a solicitor on to it immediately. Nip it in the bud.

    If they are asking you about your suppliers, either they are kids operating from their bedroom or dubious characters, trying it on with you.
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: Gecko001 Member since: Apr 21, 2011
    #14
  15. foshan

    foshan UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 1
    A couple of quick questions.

    Would it be an expensive drawn out issue going through a solicitor?

    Would it be better to wait until trademark is complete for a quicker cheaper option?
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: foshan Member since: Nov 13, 2013
    #15
  16. Root 66 Woodshop

    Root 66 Woodshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,139 1,389
    Perhaps they just couldn't find you anymore, i.e. your website is down so they think you've closed down?
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: Root 66 Woodshop Member since: Nov 22, 2011
    #16
  17. foshan

    foshan UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 1
    They actually follow us on social media so they know we haven't closed down
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: foshan Member since: Nov 13, 2013
    #17
  18. MikeJ

    MikeJ UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,909 1,755
    We'd need to see the specifics, but from what you've said they're infringing your copyright by copying your logo, and guilt of passing off by giving the impression they're the same company as you. That really depends on how similar their name is to yours, and how similar their logo is to yours.

    A firmly worded letter pointing out the above would probably take care of it. As was suggested above, they're probably a couple of teenagers that don't know what is and isn't acceptable.
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: MikeJ Member since: Jan 15, 2008
    #18
  19. Gecko001

    Gecko001 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    2,841 450


    There are cease and desist letters that you can get a solicitor to send to the other firm. These letters are warnings that you know about their logo and will take legal action if they do not stop using it. However, if you threaten legal action, you obviously have to carry out your threat if they ignore you otherwise you will be seen as backing down and giving in to them and they will just carry on using the logo.

    Be aware, sometimes when business get a logo, the business owner might think that it is a unique logo, but often it is what is called a generic logo. This could mean that it has been obtained from a site that sells it as not being unique which is quite legal as long as they tell you this. A specially commissioned logo could also be considered generic if the designer does not try very hard to come up with a unique design but uses elements which are considered generic in that they are so commonplace that they cannot be considered unique and copyright infringement is difficult to prove. For instance a paw for a dog grooming service, or a microphone for a firm connected with the audio industry or a molar tooth for a dentist. Also you get generic abstract elements such as swooshes, or chevrons and combinations of circles etc. which are so common that they have become generic and are used in dozens of logos.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: Gecko001 Member since: Apr 21, 2011
    #19
  20. foshan

    foshan UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 1
    It's not so much the symbol as where it is placed. It's the layout that is exactly the same so that it looks like our logo. It is a bit hard to explain
     
    Posted: Jul 24, 2017 By: foshan Member since: Nov 13, 2013
    #20
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