Min­is­ter backs Hal­i­fax bar­ber locked in fight with na­tional chain over name

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC - BY FADILA CHATER

A Nova Sco­tia cab­i­net min­is­ter is lend­ing sup­port to a lo­cal bar­ber locked in a dis­pute with a na­tional chain over the name of his shop.

Thong Luong, owner of Tommy’s Bar­ber Shop in northend Dart­mouth says the Tommy Gun’s Orig­i­nal Bar­ber­shop chain sent him a cease-and­de­sist let­ter this month al­leg­ing trade­mark in­fringe­ment.

“It took me a long time to carry this name,” Luong, a fa­ther of three, said Thurs­day.

“I’m proud of this. Ev­ery time my kids go shop­ping with me, and they see some­one call me ‘Hi Tommy’ they’re so proud and they said ‘Dad, every­body like you. I never see a per­son who don’t like you.”’

Ser­vice Nova Sco­tia Min­is­ter Ge­off MacLel­lan told re­porters at the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture that he doesn’t see how the name of a small bar­ber shop con­fuses cus­tomers or de­pre­ci­ates the na­tional chain’s brand.

“What Tommy Gun’s of­fers in terms of the con­sis­tency of the lay­out, the prod­ucts, the ser­vices, it’s very dif­fer­ent than what you would see at an in­de­pen­dent bar­ber,” said MacLel­lan.

Luong im­mi­grated from Viet­nam to Canada in 1984 as a teenager.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing high school, he said he worked 90 hours a week, wash­ing dishes and fix­ing jew­elry until he opened his own bar­ber­shop in 2003, six years be­fore Tommy Gun’s Orig­i­nal Bar­ber­shop regis­tered its trade­mark.

MacLel­lan said there are no issues as far as the prov­ince is con­cerned — Tommy’s Bar­ber Shop is regis­tered with Nova Sco­tia’s Registry of Joint Stocks and is “com­pletely com­pli­ant.”

The min­is­ter said he un­der­stands the “rep­utable” na­tional chain — which has two shops in the Hal­i­fax area — might feel it needs to keep its brand eq­uity strong.

But MacLel­lan said he thinks there is room for both busi­nesses, and he hopes they can work things out with­out “any cat­a­strophic im­pact on ei­ther side.”

Luong said T.G. Cor­po­rate Hold­ings Lim­ited gave him until May 22 to change his busi­ness name and reg­is­ter a new name with the gov­ern­ment. Lawyers for the com­pany did not im­me­di­ately re­turn phone calls.

Luong plans to ig­nore the let­ter, and said three lawyers have al­ready of­fered to take his case pro bono.

CP FILE PHOTO

Premier Stephen McNeil, right, chats with Ge­off MacLel­lan, gov­ern­ment house leader, be­fore he de­liv­ers the state-of-the-prov­ince speech at a busi­ness lun­cheon in Hal­i­fax ear­lier this year.

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