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Pearl Narang

Pearl Narang is a final year law student of B.B.A.LL.B (Hons.) at Chandigarh University, Mohali and is currently interning as a Trainee in Business World Legal Community. She is also pursuing a diploma in Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She is passionate about both law and writing.

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A Small-Town Artist Faces Copyright Infringement Suit From Fashion Giant, Hugo Boss

John Charles from Huyton, Merseyside is an artist who launched his clothing range during the coronavirus lockdown.

When John Charles started his business amid the pandemic, he had no idea that one day his business of providing online art lessons would attract the attention of the German fashion brand - Hugo Boss.

Marketing With a catchy Motto

More than 27,000 people logged into Mr Charles' free online classes. At the end of his art lessons, John Charles would sign off by saying "Be boss, be kind". This sign off gained massive popularity. People demanded that there should be merchandise made with the motto. After people started asking for baseball caps, T-shirts and hoodies, the artist began marketing the slogan. 

Hugo Boss opposes the trademark application 

The growing popularity of the phrase caught the attention of  Hugo Boss, the fashion giant. After Mr Charles applied to trademark "Be Boss, Be Kind" in July, he received a letter from lawyers on behalf of Hugo Boss. 

The letter of September 22 said that the company wants to block his application. It also stated that the company would drop the action if he withdrew it and stopped selling items with the word 'Boss'.

Expressing his shock, Mr Charles said "I'm shocked, to be honest," "I'm just one guy in Merseyside. I'm no threat to international business." He clarified himself by saying that "I've got a different logo, theirs is in caps [capital letters].

"When you say the word 'boss' in Liverpool everyone knows what you mean [slang for great] and you are not talking about clothes."

"We always wanted to finish positively which is why we said 'Be boss, be kind'," he said.

"We got people from Australia, Italy and Mexico taking part and their kids are all saying it. I even had people telling me their kids are saying it all around London."

John Charles said that his daughter with whom he devised the online lessons is "gobsmacked" by the fashion brand's actions. 

Hugo Boss is open to a mutual agreement 

A spokesman for Hugo Boss told the BBC "We appreciate the family's engagement in the current difficult times and are open for a mutual agreement here. We will be in touch with them directly."


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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hugo boss fashion trademarks virtual art

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