What’s In A Name?
In my earlier post Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery I noted the increased references to Crittall Replacement Windows, I explained why I think they are appearing, and I introduced you to The Chip Butty Test for steel windows v other materials.
I mentioned that Crittall® is a registered trademark, but made no further comment on it. In this article I address the importance of registering and defending your trademarks.
As a youngster, I remember reading about a pub in Glasgow being forced to change it’s name from The Mars Bar because a certain confectionery company saw it as an infringement of its registered trademark. I was filled with indignation; I vowed never to buy another Mars Bar again. It wasn’t like the pub was selling imitation mars bars!!! (It didn’t last, I think I waited until I received my next pocket money before succumbing to temptation)
More recently, a roadside cafe on my route home from work on the A12 in Essex called Hollands was forced to change its signage, and, in the end, its name because the typeface was similar to that used and registered by Harrods of Knightsbridge.
I’m sure we have all heard tales of companies defending their registered trademarks, which, on the face of it, appear draconian, and unnecessary. In fact, they are taking action to ensure that there is no dilution of their brand. They are protecting themselves and their customers against future infringements by unscrupulous traders seeking a shortcut to take advantage of someone else’s efforts to develop their brand and reputation.
According to Trademark Eagle “Securing a registered trademark protects your brand by allowing you the tools to prevent someone using similar signs / trademarks and riding off the back of your business.”
They continue, “Unauthorised parties who use your trademark without authorisation can damage your brand, your reputation and your business.”
An important reason for registering a trademark, which is not always mentioned, is protecting the consumer. Crittall Windows argues on its website, “Unfortunately success breeds imitation, and the ease of setting up internet websites has resulted in third parties using the Crittall trade mark in a manner which is misleading, unfair or excessive…”
“…When you buy a window sold by reference to the Crittall name, you need reassurance that it is the real deal: a genuine Crittall® window made by Crittall Windows Limited. You want to be sure that you are reaping the rewards of 160 years of excellence in steel window manufacture. That is why we take seriously protection of our Crittall® trade mark – to ensure that you, the customer, are getting the window you deserve.”
Crittall Windows also explains its response to those infringing its registered trademark, “We have recently taken legal action against a competitor which was using the Crittall name in an infringing manner and claiming that it was a generic term for any steel window. We are pleased to say that we have obtained a successful settlement, with the competitor agreeing that the Crittall trade mark is validly registered (i.e. is not a generic term), paying us a substantial contribution to our costs and damages, and undertaking not to infringe in future.”
I can’t comment on individual cases, but I can say that Crittall Windows does not take action against every website which uses its registered trademark. It takes action against those who abuse it, by making excessive use of the trademark, or who appear to mislead the public into thinking they are supplying genuine Crittall windows.
Disclosure: I am the IT Manager at Crittall Windows Ltd, however, the views and opinions expressed here are my own.