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Trademark survives ‘Bear’ challenge:

A company, based in Dorset, that manufactures knives and calls itself Bear Blades, reported that it had received a letter from lawyers acting for the TV personality, Bear Grylls,  (well known for his outdoor survival programmes and books).  The Dorset based company, Bear Blades Ltd,  had been asked to cease use of the word ‘bear’ on its website and literature and in its logo.  Upon our investigations of the UK Trademark Register we note that Bear Grylls (or more accurately, his company, Bear Gyrlls Ventures LLP) has registered several UK, European Community and International  trademark registrations protecting his name in respect of many different goods (from first aid kits, screwdrivers and knives , to clothing and computers, to name just a few). We also note that the Dorset company has applied for a UK trademark:  Bear Blades with a logo, in respect of various different types of knives.  It appears that Bear Grylls and his trademark attorneys have noticed the potential trademark conflict and taken initial steps to prevent further use of the Bear Blades trademark.

However, since the initial letter was sent to Bear Blades Ltd requesting they cease use of the Bear Blades trademark, it has now been reported that Bear Grylls has stepped in to ‘rescue’ the Dorset company by tweeting that they are ‘Good to go’.  It appears that Bear Blades Ltd may be able to continue using the Bear Blades trademark after all.  We can only guess that a Co-existence Agreement and/or Undertakings between the parties may be forthcoming.

Whilst this trademark dispute may have a happy ending, it shows how important it is to take professional advice from a qualified trademark attorney before embarking upon the use (and filing an application) of any trademark.  Business survival depends upon minimising your risks and this matter of the two ‘bears’ may have ended very differently!  Avoid ‘bear baiting’ -otherwise known in our profession as trademark conflicts by speaking to a trademark professional first.

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