Comedian Joe Lycett has recently changed his name by deed poll to Hugo Boss. The comedian formerly known as Joe Lycett appears to have been motivated to change his name not by a love for the famous fashion brand but by Hugo Boss’ trade mark strategy which allegedly includes challenging smaller businesses using the word ‘boss’, including a Welsh craft brewery. The comedian presents a consumer rights show which focuses on consumers being poorly treated by big organisations. 

Whilst it’s unusual for a comedian to stray into the world of contentious intellectual property law Hugo Boss, the company, appears to have taken this unusual step in their stride. The company has commented that  “As an open-minded company we would like to clarify that we do not oppose the free use of language in any way and we accept the generic term "boss" and its various and frequent uses in different languages”.

It’s unclear what will happen next. Using your own name or address where there is an earlier registered trade mark of the same names is permitted provided that it is used in accordance with honest practices in industrial or commercial matters. Whether the comedian meets this criteria is unclear and it will be interesting to see what Hugo Boss, both the company and the comedian, do next.  A trade mark is any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods and services from one undertaking from another undertaking.

Capsticks can help you apply to register a trade mark, defend or commence opposition to a trade mark registration or help enforce a registered mark. In addition, we can provide fast and cost-effective advice in relation to all other contentious intellectual property issues.