Would A Moron In A Hurry Be Confused Between A Huge Luxury Retailer And A Small Roadside Cafe?

from the harrods-hollands dept

Jamie alerts us to the news that the giant luxury department store Harrods, in London, is threatening a small roadside cafe, called Hollands (accurately named after the cafe's owners) for having a logo that's too similar. The Daily Mail article above has a number of excellent photographic comparison shots, including a nice one showing the dumpy looking cafe juxtaposed with Harrod's famous, iconic, storefront. The logos themselves both use similar script fonts, but it seems unlikely that anyone would be confused, and the whole thing comes off as the department store bullying a little cafe.


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  1.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 4:18am

    Hollands Cafe: Your Luxury Destination For Beauty, Fragrance, & Meatloaf

    The fonts are very similar, but a roadside cafe is a very different thing than a 'luxury destination for beauty and fragrance'. If Harrods were smart, and they really believed that this would confuse people, they would offer to pay for the changes in lieu of paying attorneys.

     

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    Rose M. Welch (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 4:23am

    Design Firm Or Hollands?

    Also, a good question to ask would be:

    Who designed the logo, sign, menus, etc.? If it was a design firm, who offered this font as a sample? Did the Hollands' ask for 'something like Harrods' or just something nice?

    Personally, when working on designs for small businesses, I usually find several appropriate samples and offer them to the client. If the Hollands' picked this font from a sample, that lends more credibility to their story.

    Regardless of whether or not the Hollands' were purposely trying to imitate Harrods, I still stand behind my previous comment. Even if they're right, they still look like assholes.

     

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  3.  
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    abc gum, May 28th, 2010 @ 5:01am

    Wait ... every business has to use a different font ?
    The font creaters will make a killing.

     

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    cc (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 5:12am

    It appears they aren't suing for trademark infringement, but copyright infringement.

    What's copyrighted? The font?

     

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    Richard (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 5:29am

    Re: Design Firm Or Hollands?

    The Cafe owner says the logo is based on his wife's signature.

     

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    Just Another Moron in a Hurry (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 5:30am

    Re: Design Firm Or Hollands?

    According to the original article, the cafe sign is based off the way Mr. Holland's wife signs her name.

     

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    Just Another Moron in a Hurry (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 5:34am

    Survey Says

    I've asked an actual Moron in a Hurry (myself) if I would be confused. The answer is that if I were driving down the road, looking for a sign that says Harrods, had no idea what a Harrods store looked like, and I saw the Hollands sign, I might be confused, and slow down to get a better look. But that would only be because they have a similar length name, and a matching first letter and last 2 letters. But I would realize the mistake before I even parked or got out of the car, and leave to find my proper destination.

     

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    Danny, May 28th, 2010 @ 6:00am

    No confusion here

    We are talking about the difference between a roadside cafe and one of the most high end department stores in the country. It would be one thing if they were similar businesses (like if Hollands were a mall or some sort of retail store) but the difference is way too big.

    From the linked article:
    "Harrods corporate affairs manager Hannah Hodges said: 'Examination of the Hollands Cafe Lounge sign will reveal the script is extremely similar to our copyrighted Harrods logo and could, therefore, wrongly suggest some association between our organisations."

    This sounds like Harrods is trying to claim copyright on a font. Not a name but a font.

    This is bull. Harrods should have just left this alone

     

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    Danny, May 28th, 2010 @ 6:01am

    Re: Survey Says

    Exactly.

    And anyone who misses on all you describe and still makes it inside and can't tell the difference between a cafe and department store, well frankly they deserve to be called a moron.

     

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    nick, May 28th, 2010 @ 6:03am

    re: survey says

    You would be pretty lost of you were in Witham looking for Harrods...

     

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    Just Another Moron in a Hurry (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 6:13am

    Re: re: survey says

    Another very good point. Unless I made a horrible typo in my GPS, I doubt I'd be looking for Harrods in the same location as Hollands.

    By the way, welcome to TechDirt, Nick. If you want to reply to a specific comment, you will see a link labeled 'reply to this comment' under each one. That will save you from having to type out re: (topic name) yourself.

    Take it easy. :)

     

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    cc (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Re: Survey Says

    You could also assume they're grossly overpriced like the real Harrods.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 6:39am

    The wife is pretty

     

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    wifezilla, May 28th, 2010 @ 6:45am

    The only moron in this instance is the person at Harrods that thinks they own the font.

    Of course, you CAN pay a type designer to create one for you, but I guess it is cheaper to pay an attorney to bully a cafe owner than to pay for original graphic design.....in Bizzaro World!

     

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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 6:46am

    It doesn't confuse me at all

    One establishment, Harrods, sells over-priced kitsch to monied shirt-lifters and assorted hideous garments to easily deceived women, often also purchased by the aforementioned for some reason. The other establishment, Hollands, sells food of some sort. How could there be any confusion on anyone's part? Oh, I'll grant that there may be a number of "upper class" twits who might be, but how many of them could there be? That many? Oh my. Never mind.

     

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  16.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Design Firm Or Hollands?

    Yes, I read that, but it's not enough information.

    I doubt that small restaurant owners would have paid to have a font created. It's more likely that they were shown several samples and went, 'Hey, honey, that looks like my signature! Let's choose that one.'. And now they are truthfully stating that they chose their logo because it resembled her signature. :)

     

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  17.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Design Firm Or Hollands?

    Yes, I read that, but it's not enough information.

    I doubt that small restaurant owners would have paid to have a font created. It's more likely that they were shown several samples and went, 'Hey, honey, that looks like my signature! Let's choose that one.'. And now they are truthfully stating that they chose their logo because it resembled her signature. :)

     

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  18.  
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    Burt Fisher, May 28th, 2010 @ 6:55am

    Which are you asking?

    Are you asking me that question as a moron, or as a busy person? I'm also wondering why you think anyone reading this might be either (or both).

     

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  19.  
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    Jon B., May 28th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    Re:

    Eek... it's about copyright? Chances are the same font was licensed in both instances. A trademark case would hold more water, but that's still iffy. (And by licensed, I mean it probably came on a pack of 2000 chaeap-ass fonts the logo designers bought for commercial use)

     

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  20.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, May 28th, 2010 @ 7:39am

    yes folks the burger king thoery again

     

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  21.  
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    mike allen (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    personally i beleave the Hollands and do not think they should change their sign.
    Any one who thinks Harrods is in essex are truely morons.
    the name is differant i have yet to meet someone who complained that they wanted to go to Holland and got taken to harrods or vice versa.
    harrods should be told to stick it where the sun dont shine as to copyright er can you claim copyright over someones family name dont think so.

     

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  22.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 8:11am

    I am sick and tired of the big companies in the world think they own the world, but owe no accountability to anyone. The entitlement of these companies... I just don't have words for it.

    We have:
    - very misaligned copyright laws (skewed in the direction of the big media corporations rather than the artists and the public), the world over, that harm rather than stimulate creativity. (and according to a debat recently held in NL on copyright and legal/illegal downloading, our government can't even change those laws without raising a lot of heckles with other countries, as these laws are deeply embedded in lots of treaties and with ACTA coming, it is only going to get worse)
    - patent laws that harm rather than promote innovation.
    - companies that think they are entitled to a lot more than they should.
    - Justice skewed in the direction towards the rich. (The team with the most expensive lawyers almost always win)

    Stop this world! I want off.

     

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  23.  
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    Just Another Moron in a Hurry (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 8:30am

    Re: Which are you asking?

    Just exactly what are you trying to imply about me?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    From the linked article:

    "Mr Holland said the logo, written in a slanting yellow script, was based on the way his wife signs her name."

    Assuming this is true, is there anyone aware of a particular font of the type used by Harrod's? I ask this only because of the striking similarities between the the two marks.

    This said, I believe Ms. Welch offered the best solution in her initial post. Why waste money when almost certainly an easy business solution can be readily crafted?

    BTW, I have never been to Harrold's, but I am sure their Christian Dior Pancake Platter and Chanel No. 5 tea are delicious.

     

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  25.  
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    pianom4n, May 28th, 2010 @ 10:08am

    copyright on a typeface?

    Can you copyright a typeface in England? I know in the US you can't, so there wouldn't even be a case.

     

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  26.  
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    TheStupidOne, May 28th, 2010 @ 10:24am

    Look at the Pictures ...

    Let me state with 100% confidence that they are NOT using the same font. I'm not a font expert, but it is clear to me on close examination.

    Common letters between the fonts:
    'H': In Harrods 'H' the cross line has a downward curve to it while Hollands 'H' is a straight line that is slanted upwards to the right. the cross line has a lighter weight in Harrods, and the location of the cross line appears to be different.

    'd': The base of the stem where it connects to the loop has a rounded appearance in Harrods, and a pointy appearance in Hollands. The hollow in the loop is much narrower in Hollands.

    'o': Very similar, however the small loop at the top of the 'o' has a subtle, but different shape to it

    'a': This letter looks the same to me

    's': Very Very similar, but on close inspection you'll see that the middle section of the letter has a lighter weight in Harrods

     

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  27.  
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    Sneeje (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 10:46am

    Re: Hollands Cafe: Your Luxury Destination For Beauty, Fragrance, & Meatloaf

    Post title made me laugh, thanks!

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Design Firm Or Hollands?

    If it's a commercial font, or even one freely available, Harrod's doesn't have a leg to stand on. Imagine how ridiculous it would be if every company had to have a unique font for their logo. "Sorry, you used Helvetica, we're going to sue you".

    If this is indeed a case of copyright infringement, as Harrod's lawyers seem to feel, then the case should be tossed immediately, as the sign says "Hollands" not "Harrod's", the two are obviously not the same.

    If Harrod's lawyers are idiots, and they actually mean "Trademark infringement", then the case should still be tossed immediately, as the two logos aren't sufficiently similar to imply any sort of connection. Holland's logo is on an acute slant, Harrod's isn't. Holland House Drink Mixes might have a better case against Hollands than Harrod's does.

    This is simply a case of a big, greedy company trying to bully a little one.

     

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  29.  
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    noesbueno (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Re: It doesn't confuse me at all

    what exactly is a "shirtlifter"?

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Am I too late to get a copyright on cursive text?

     

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  31.  
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    SeanG (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Plus, the Harrod's font reminds of, oh, about half the company logos from the 50s and 60s I've ever seen. How long before somebody that predates their 1967 design sues them?

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

    "Would A Moron In A Hurry Be Confused Between A Huge Luxury Retailer And A Small Roadside Cafe?"

    A more relevant question is would a lawyer be confused?

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    Re:

    Or would a judge be confused.

     

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  34.  
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    Kevin Carson, May 28th, 2010 @ 11:45pm

    By Andrew Keen's standards, probably yes. Keen thinks the Internet is a Library of Babel where the average moron has difficulty determining the authorship of aggregated content, distinguishing email spam from legitimate stock advice, and using filtering and reputational mechanisms to determine the value of online content for his own purposes.

     

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  35.  
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    Dave, May 29th, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    Obvious confusion (not)

    I've never heard or seen such a load of b*ll*cks in all my life, putting it as bluntly as I dare in good old Anglo Saxon expletives. The two names are (obviously) completely dissimilar. The trades are not the same (unless Harrods are suddenly going in for gold-plated bacon butties) and so is the way they're displayed. Different font entirely. Just who do the new owners of Harrods think they are? This claim is so ethereal, it's not true. I suppose the worry is that the little people might have to defend it and that might break them. A fund should be set up for the purpose, I reckon.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2010 @ 9:33am

    If Harrods execs are worried that customers will mistake a cafe in Rivenhall for the Harrods store they seriously need to hire a better PR firm.

     

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  37.  
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    montreal florist, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 9:17am

    Similar and popular

    It look similar but also very popular.
    I mean that's not a problem.

     

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  38.  
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    luxury beauty samples, Dec 8th, 2012 @ 9:41am

    Luxurious items are not always of high quality. It is not important that every expensive items is good. A road side cafe are also good with their items. Luxury also depends upon the reviews of items.You have started a nice stuff.Thanks for this useful article.

     

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