Trademarking the underground
Friday I got a letter from lawyers for Transport for London. In 2008 they trademarked the word ‘underground’. To trademark something you pay £250 to the Patents office and an extra £50 for each category or section, ranging from cartoons and cassette players to jewellery, from jokebooks, parasols, christmas crackers and magnets to transportation of persons, animals, goods, valuables by air, sea, rail, underground rail ect. London Underground have trademarked everything in sight, including Section 43 which covers cafe, bar, restaurant, catering services. As far as I know they don’t use the catering category. If they fail to use it within five years I can make an application.
The letter spelled out that their client was anxious that my use of the words ‘The Underground Restaurant’
“is likely to be held to infringe the rights afforded by our client’s registration”It goes on to say “According to our internet research, you are using the mark The Underground Restaurant in relation to a restaurant operated from your home. Whilst it is appreciated that you are using the word ‘underground’ to convey a sense of secrecy, rather than the London Underground rail system, nevertheless our client is concerned that confusion could arise. …Client is also concerned that your use of The Underground Restaurant trade mark could be detrimental to our client’s brand. Clearly our client does not want such associations with its brand.”
Twitter responded, firstly in amazement (especially coming so soon after the Harry Notter debacle) and secondly with scorn and amusement.
twitawitch @MsMarmitelover That’s ridiculous. They going to sue Mike Batt for saying the word Undergound in the Wombles song too?
EssexEating @MsMarmitelover thats kind of thin……. How can they have a claim on the word ‘underground’?
montimer @msmarmitelover you’re kidding
joannasb @MsMarmitelover Really? Do they have a trademark on the word “underground”
jerrybarnett @MsMarmitelover No way… they can’t enforce the use of a generic word… I’m pretty sure but not a lawyer
rhodri @MsMarmitelover That’s ludicrous. You could rename it with a small “u” for underground, perhaps. They can’t stop that, surely.
chrispople @MsMarmitelover @londoneating @oliverthring Do they also have a claim on the word ‘London’? Idiots
WHampstead @MsMarmitelover surely they don’t have a leg to stand on there? You can’t trademark common words, and you’re not using their logo.
paulscooking@MsMarmitelover Please do not use the word Oyster on your menu’s neither 🙂 joking aside that’s terrible
chrispople @MsMarmitelover You should reply that as your restaurant is friendly, value for money and comfortable the similarities are minimal
aforkful@MsMarmitelover that’s ridiculous. Have they registered ‘The Underground’ as a trade mark? Can there be any poss confusion betw u? Unlikely
jerrybarnett@MsMarmitelover I’m thinking of suing you for using my middle name – Lover
handlewithcare @MsMarmitelover Ask them if you serve very late, strike for days for no reason,and charge extortionate amounts, if they’ll endorse you?
MaisonCupcake @MsMarmitelover That’s crazy. We have Oasis the shop, the band, the drink co-existing. What’s the difference?
indiaknight@MsMarmitelover Mad. Make a big fuss.
londoneating@MsMarmitelover – Wonder if they have problems with the Underground Cookery School or LSE’s Underground bar? Ridiculous.
essexgourmet@MsMarmitelover Jeez – read that wrong. Have a word with Oli from London Underground Comics : http://londonundergroundcom…
(I did and he hadn’t had any problem with them…)
LadybirdFi@MsMarmitelover You should write a book about all of this : What you didn’t know about Harry Potter’s food.
dasilvajums@MsMarmitelover did they complain at Jamiroquai with his Deeper Underground?? what piffle
al_robertson@MsMarmitelover Hmm, seems mischievous to me; surely there’s no risk of passing off / confusion?
mcbazza@MsMarmitelover if Apple/Apple Corps can co-exist, can’t you+LU? Obviously, you’d have to agree to not run (2nd rate) mass transit network.
MaisonCupcake@MsMarmitelover they could object to using a variation of their “roundel”, but no claim on “underground” in sense of secret or nonmainstream agaqueen@MsMarmitelover dig in and think of the Underground Resistance Fighters……….
agaqueen@MsMarmitelover Henry’s just suggested that London Underground sues You Tube for hijacking “tube”………!!
MsMarmitelover @damnyoudex What would Joan Collins do in this situation?!
damnyoudex@MsMarmitelover she would sit back with a glass of champagne& laugh at them. ‘Fools!’ she would shout.’ whilst dex massages her feet’.
KaveyF@MsMarmitelover They’re just trying it on! Given that Underground is commonly used to mean hidden/ secret, it’s a push for them to claim it!
sosusie: I do not get how London Underground can force the change of name of @msmarmitelover’s The Underground Restaurant??? It’s RIDICULOUS. aargh.
Ppparkaboy@MsMarmitelover what? For real? What confusion? Do you have an LU logo outside, barriers at the door and a long escalator to the tables?
HubUK RT @MsMarmitelover: It’s getting to the point that I’m terrified to open the post.>>>> Are you sure MI5 aren’t on your case? Hard to believe we_are_stardust@MsMarmitelover The only person any confusion could be detrimental to is you. I think everyone knows that!!
HubUK@MsMarmitelover They surely can’t restrict the use of the word underground. Contact Boris – sure he would put pompous jobs worths in place
SimonMagusRT @MsMarmitelover: got a letter from London Undergrounds solicitors.’…http://bit.ly/2YywXr I for one often confuse meals with tube trains.
WHampstead It’s the Wombles I’m worried about. They go Underground AND Overground! (@MsMarmitelover)
Red_Eyes@MsMarmitelover Tell them to get over it and/or sod off! They are trying it on. Or, rename to: “I can’t believe it’s not The Underground!”
mrjfirth@msmarmitelover You could go with “Subway”…
misswhiplash @MsMarmitelover It’s not like you’re opening up a rival subterranean tram system….
(Well funny she should say that…)
ZebuSimonRose@MsMarmiteLover When Harrods sued a Mr. Harrod in New Zealand, whole town changed name to Harrodsville. Need something to shame them to stop
ZebuSimonRose@MsMarmitelover told by London Underground to change name of Underground Restaurant. Let’s sing this ditty in support http://bit.ly/AlfGx
And finally….originalfoots@MsMarmitelover The cheek of people thinking that they can hold the rights to ordinary words! Underground belongs to us, it’s our word 9:54 PM Nov 19th