11 March 2009

Tea Box wins trademark victory

TeekaneLogoDisputeWin_Interior_JemmaSwallow_webversion A small British tea house has won a legal victory against a powerful German corporate, over the use of its trade mark, which features a teapot logo.

The Tea Box in Richmond, Surrey first opened its doors to the public in October 2007 as an alternative venue to the numerous highstreet coffee chains in the area. Just two months later the business became the focus of a legal challenge, led by a German tea manufacturer, part of the global Teekanne Group, over the registration of its trade mark. Teekanne claimed that the British shop’s application to register its teapot logo was a breach of their trade mark rights.

With the help of trade mark experts at UK intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers LLP, The Tea Box’s owners decided to contest the challenge. Now, after receiving an early indication from the UK Intellectual Property Office that it would be likely to find in favour of The Tea Box, the German business has decided not to proceed with its opposition to the application.

Jemma Swallow who owns and runs The Tea Box with her partner Mike de Souza, says:

“We are over the moon thLogoDisputeWin_Exterior_Webversionat common sense, and not commercial power, has won the day. No one we have spoken to has perceived any similarity between the two companies’ logos. There is no way that people could confuse the brand of our independent upmarket tea shop which retails loose leaf teas with that of a large German tea business, which sells tea bags and doesn’t even have any tea shops in the UK.

“Teekanne tried to force us to change our teapot logo to a tea cup. I’m glad that we decided to stand our ground; it is a huge relief to know that we won’t have to take out a loan to rebrand.”

Mark Armitage, trade mark attorney at Withers & Rogers LLP, says:

“It is great to have been able to help this small independent British business successfully counter a claim, which most people will view as unreasonable and heavy-handed.

“Trade marks exist because companies want to be able to brand their business in a distinctive way that makes them stand out from their competitors. However, in this case, the opponent was attempting to enforce their trade mark in an unreasonable way and the UK IPO agreed with our view that use of The Tea Box’s logo was not sufficient to cause confusion.”


For more information contact:
Jemma Swallow at The Tea Box on 020 8940 3521, 07905 643914 or jemma@theteabox.co.uk or
Christine Smart or Bailey Lamburn at Smarts on 0121 456 3199 or christine.smart@smarts.co.uk.

Notes to the Editor

1. The Tea Box serves and sells a wide range of quality loose leaf teas, including its unique Frootea range and liquor teas. It is located at 7 Paradise Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1RX – www.theteabox.co.uk. Tel: 0208 940 3521.

2. About Withers & Rogers
Established in 1884, Withers & Rogers LLP is one of the UK’s top ten patent and trade mark attorney firms providing expert advice on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights particularly for inventions, designs and trade marks.

With over 100 partners and staff, Withers & Rogers has three principal regional bases in London, Bristol and the Midlands. The firm’s client portfolio stretches across the Americas, the Far East and Australia as well as mainland Europe. Withers & Rogers has a client base of more than 10,000 organisations ranging from major corporations and multi-nationals to small and medium-sized enterprises and universities. www.withersandrogers.com