Bar­ber threat­ened with le­gal ac­tion by mak­ers of TV show

Perth: Busi­ness re­ceives writ from mak­ers of Peaky Blin­ders over re­brand­ing plan

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - Jake keiTh jkeith@the­courier.co.uk

A Perthshire shop owner faces le­gal ac­tion from a TV pro­duc­tion firm over his plans to re­brand as the Peaky Blin­ders.

Will Robert­son, who owns and runs Sweeney Todd on South Street in Perth, re­ceived a writ from the mak­ers of the TV show over his plans to use the name.

The writ, sent to Mr Robert­son by Chiever Brand Pro­tec­tion on be­half of Caryn Mand­abach, claims he is try­ing to ‘free-ride’ on the rep­u­ta­tion of the TV show under the English law of pass­ing off.

The show is based on a gang which ter­rorised the West Mid­lands be­tween 1890 and early last cen­tury.

It has spawned a sub-cul­ture among youths who wear flat-caps and high-fade hair­styles sim­i­lar to char­ac­ter Tommy Shelby, played by Cil­lian Mur­phy.

Mr Robert­son, who has also cre­ated his own Peaky Blin­ders-branded hair gel for the re­launch, with 20,000 or­dered, said he is wor­ried about the fi­nan­cial costs of the ac­tion on his busi­ness.

He said: “There are other busi­nesses that use the name, such as a new bar in Liver­pool, so I don’t re­ally un­der­stand it.

“They’re a pro­duc­tion com­pany and The le­gal fall-out be­tween a Perth bar­ber shop and Peaky Blin­ders TV show cre­ators is not the first trade­mark dis­pute to hit the head­lines in Courier Coun­try.

In 2013, na­tional car deal­er­ship We Buy Any Car threat­ened to sue Glen­cross Mo­tors of Cleping­ton Road in Dundee af­ter the lo­cal busi­ness dis­played a fore­court sign with the mes­sage ‘wheel buy any car’.

It threat­ened to sue for £50,000 be­fore back­ing down.

In 2012, Dun­fermline chain D&G Au­to­care found it­self at the cen­tre of a row with Ital­ian fash­ion giant Dolce & Gab­bana.

It ap­plied to reg­is­ter its name as a trade­mark to pre­vent other garages from copy­ing its suc­cess.

Dolce & Gab­bana’s trade­mark agents claimed the Fife firm’s ap­pli­ca­tion over­lapped with their reg­is­tered trade­mark.

How­ever, D&G Au­to­care was later granted its trade­mark with no re­stric­tion. we’re a bar­ber shop. How can they say we would be in­fring­ing?

“I can only as­sume they are look­ing at mov­ing into mer­chan­dise, too.

“The thing is, it’s a generic name,” he said.

“It has been about for years so I don’t know how they can claim to own it,” he added.

He added: “My grand­dad was nick­named Peaky Blinder so that’s where we got the idea.

“I don’t know if we are able to take on such a big com­pany.

“If you lose in court you could be look­ing at pay­ing half-a-mil­lion pounds,” he said.

The writ sent by En­de­mol Shine Group states: “Given the suc­cess of the Peaky Blin­ders tele­vi­sion se­ries, it seems that with the reg­is­tra­tion and (fu­ture) use of the name Peaky Blin­ders you are at­tempt­ing to free-ride on the rep­u­ta­tion of the tele­vi­sion show.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, the con­nec­tion be­tween Peaky Blin­ders and ra­zor blades and . . . the dis­tinct hair­cut of the lead char­ac­ter could cre­ate a con­nec­tion with groom­ing.

“By us­ing and/or reg­is­ter­ing the name PEAKY BLIN­DERS you will likely mis­lead the pub­lic into be­liev­ing that your goods and ser­vices are Mand­abach’s.

“We re­quest you to re­con­sider your po­si­tion, with­draw UK trade­mark ap­pli­ca­tion, Peaky Blin­ders, and agree that you will not use this mark or marks sim­i­lar to the Peaky Blin­ders name, now and in the fu­ture.”

Mr Robert­son has launched a Gofundme page seek­ing help with po­ten­tial le­gal costs.

Pic­ture: BBC/Caryn Mand­abach/Robert Vigla.

Cast mem­bers of the hit tele­vi­sion show Peaky Blin­ders.

Pic­ture: Steve Mac­Dougall.

Will Robert­son in his bar­ber’s shop.

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