A former freelancer who gained EU protection for the words “Keep Calm & Carry on” – Britain’s wartime slogan, is having a “devastating effect” on many other small traders, a trade mark expert claims.
Launching proceedings with the EU to cancel the mark, Trade Mark Direct said the five words “never” should have been trademarked to Mark Coop, an ex- freelance producer and the owner of Keep Calm and Carry On Ltd.
Since they were granted last year, “many” business have felt the effects of Mr Coop enforcing his monopoly rights, notably the now-defunct Simply Printing 4 U, which blames the registration for its demise.
“‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ is part of Britain’s heritage”, added Mark Kingsley-Williams, founder of Trade Mark Direct. “Seeing hundreds of trade mark applications each month we're certain this one would have been rejected for a UK trade mark”.
Mr Coop, who has been using the EU community trademark to sell clothing, cushions, cups and other memorabilia bearing the phrase, has countered, reportedly declaring: “I am protecting my interests”.
But before it was trademarked, “Keep Calm & Carry” on was etched on a wide range of items, indicating to Trade Mark Direct that “it is highly unlikely that the public would associate the phrase with any particular business”.
“We have no doubt that fairness and common sense will prevail,” the advisor reflected. “We are fighting this at our own cost as we believe strongly that this historic emblem of British resolve in adversity should be free for all businesses to use with no one firm monopolising it unfairly.”
The case is expected to take between four and six months to reach a conclusion.