Gin'll fix it? Walking the McNaughty walk

Yesterday we posted  Gym'll fix it? The zipper's progress, a light hearted look at our efforts to squeeze into a vintage dress in six days (and counting) for the Herald Fashion Awards. Today's message is that, whenever your personal stress levels hit the stratosphere, you can be sure that Gin'll fix it. Here's that picture again (and the spirit level is getting ever lower for reasons that will become apparent).

botanist gin

Pour yourself a glass and we'll begin with a short history lesson.

Some readers may recall the Shoeperwoman saga, which we recounted some time ago in support of our fashion blogger chum Amber McNaught, whose established brand identity had been stolen by A.N. Other. The matter was only resolved after months of anguish and considerable effort and expense on Amber's part  to establish and enforce prior rights to her distinctive trade mark. As reported in Caughty Doing a McNaughty, Amber's stolen body parts have continued to appear all over the internets, but at least she can walk tall in her own robustly reinforced trade marked Shoeperwoman shoes!

Little did we realise that we too were destined to walk the same McNaughty walk in Amber's shoes (despite having bigger feet and a justifiable heel height phobia after an unfortunate incident at an Otway gig).

At the weekend, one of our eagle eyed customers alerted us to the existence of a Facebook page (not ours) calling itself The Frockery. We also uncovered a history of trading under our business name at vintage fairs in England. We admit we were puzzled as we didn't think Facebook allowed brand duplication and we have long standing ownership of all the frockery domain names (from as far back as 2005) and social media accounts, having traded continuously as The Frockery™ since April 2007. A cursory Google search would have flagged up an inevitable plagiarism problem.

We made early contact with the other business owner in the hope that we could resolve things amicably. Mindful of Amber's experience, however, we felt we had to take immediate steps to protect our brand and put the matter in the hands of the lawyers who filed our trade mark registration in Class 25 and Class 35. We meanwhile alerted Facebook, notified the organisers of the vintage fairs involved and took advice from our local Trading Standards Department. We also familiarised ourselves with every bit of legislation pertaining to 'passing off', copyright and trade marks (and there's a lot of it!)

Happy ending

To cut a long and highly stressful story short, we have now had a courteous and constructive discussion with the other business owner who has agreed to change her trading name as soon as is practicable. We are entirely satisfied that the infringement was not intentional and we are pleased to have reached an amicable resolution by informal means. We bear her no ill feeling, thank her for acceding to our request to cease using our name and wish her well in her business.

So we'll be swapping the gin fix for the gym fix again tomorrow. Tonight we may just manage one or two small ones and we're saving the champagne for Sunday!