from the boss-baby dept
The last time we discussed Hugo Boss, the famed upscale clothier based out of Germany, it was when the company sent a C&D notice to Boss Brewing, which makes beer. While there can be no doubt that Boss Brewing would have won any dispute on the merits, given that the two entities are simply not playing in the same marketplace and there was zero chance of any kind of public confusion in commerce, Hugo Boss got its pint of blood by getting the brewery to change the name of two of its beers in a barely perceptible way.
In other words, there was no real or potential harm done to Hugo Boss over the target of its dispute, but these sort of trademark actions are more reflex than logic.
And here we go again, with Hugo Boss sending another notice to an artist who decided to trademark a phrase he uses to conclude his art lessons with for use on merch.
Father-of-one John Charles was hit with a threatening legal letter from lawyers representing the luxury fashion brand after he applied to trademark his ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’ clothing and hat designs.
The slogan, containing the word ‘Boss’, which in Scouse slang means ‘very good’ or ‘great’, was used by Mr Charles’ at the end of his online art lessons – which he launched during lockdown.
“Be Boss, Be Kind” is not “Hugo Boss”. In fact, given the part of the UK where Charles is from, “boss” is very much a common slang term for “awesome” or “the best”. That his following, those that enjoy his art lessons, would somehow suddenly think he had anything to do with Hugo Boss is absurd on levels rarely seen.
As for the contents of the letter, they weren’t overly aggressive. It states that Hugo Boss plans to oppose Charles’ trademark application, but would drop the matter entirely if he agreed to drop his application. The company has also stated publicly that they’re looking for an amicable resolution to all of this.
Except that no resolution is needed. There’s no confusion to worry about here. No trademark infringement. Charles is an art teacher who teaches children remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. As plenty of people have shown through public comments, this is nothing.
Hundreds of people have since spoken out in support of John.Many have since said that it’s ‘easy to see’ that Be Boss Be Kind has no connection to the German fashion giant. Other residents also agreed with John that the word ‘boss’ is a Liverpool saying.
On Facebook, Anne Porter commented: ‘Boss’ is a word 9/10 Scousers use with no connection to Hugo.’
PoliteScouser added: ‘Boss is a Liverpool slang word for the best. He has as much right to use the word from his local dialect as any other person place or thing.’
Despite this, Hugo Boss’ letter claims that its brand’s “goodwill” will be threatened if Charles gets his trademark. In my view, it sure seems like its the opposition that is hurting any goodwill the brand might have.