‘London’ trademark fight lost by London Drugs

‘London Drugs’, a retail chain shop in the western part of Canada has lost its effort to block a clothing company from using the word “London” in the name of its menswear line. The company argues that there is chance that customers might get confused between its products and between the products of a clothing line called “Smith and Barnes London,” marketed by International Clothiers.

However, a judge in the Federal Court ruled against the British Columbia retail giant, which sells almost everything from Aspirin to coffee makers, and maintained an earlier decision by the Registrar of Trademarks that ‘London Drugs’ was basically trying to monopolize the word “London.” The judge also observed that customers were less likely to get confused with menswear and home appliances simply because of the word ‘London’.

Trisha Dore, an expert with Accupro Trademark Services, states that intense protection of brands can take large companies into strange areas. According to Dore, “Large companies are companies that are strictly motivated by their brands, and that is their identity out there in the marketplace.” She also added, “They will have a tendency to maybe stretch the limits of what their registrations may entail.”

However, Dore says the company does own a lot of related trademarks from London Home to London Gourmet – granting them a lot of authority over the word London nevertheless. She also notes that there is a misconception that it is not possible to monopolize normal words.

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