Hugo Boss at it again: Trade Mark claim over ‘Boss’ artist in Liverpool

Fashion giant Hugo Boss is getting a name for themselves in the IP world, as they again have flexed their trade mark muscles up against a small UK business.

This time, Hugo Boss has made an attempt to block a trade mark application for the phrase ‘Be boss, be kind’.

The application was filed by John Charles, an artist in Liverpool who throughout lockdown offered online art lessons. As part of this, he signed off all his videos with the phrase ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’ referring to the slang definition of ‘Boss’ meaning ‘be great’.

Due to the popularity, John began to offer clothing and accessories with the slogan on. As part of this, he made the trade mark application to secure the rights in the phrase.

Hugo Boss has opposed this application and has sent a cease and desist letter, pushing for John to stop using the phrase altogether. Hugo Boss have commented publicly on this and has said they are open to a mutual agreement with the artist, but they will not tolerate the use of the word ‘Boss’.

Hugo Boss have had a lot of negative press of late in respect of their bullish approach to the use of the word ‘Boss’, with comedian Joe Lycett changing his name by deed poll to Hugo Boss to highlight their actions.

It will be interesting to see if Hugo Boss change their stance on this following some publicity. Keep your eye on the reading room for updates.

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