Grylls firm wants knife name change
5:07pm Friday 8th August 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Lawyers representing a company linked to TV adventurer Bear Grylls have demanded a knife manufacturer changes its name because it features the word "bear".
Dorset-based Bear Blades said it has received a letter from law firm Carpmaels and Ransford on behalf of Bear Grylls Ventures calling for the company to remove any reference to "bear" including its name, logo, and website.
Owen Senior, who set up Bear Blades in Swanage two years ago, said he plans to change his firm's name because he does not have "the energy or inclination" to fight "faceless" lawyers.
Grylls said he would "look into this" after Bear Blades raised their concerns with him on Twitter.
"We're bitterly disappointed," Mr Senior said.
"We're trying to build a small business - it's as much a hobby as it is a business - then someone completely faceless comes along and demands we change our name.
"He's meant to be Chief Scout and encourage outdoor activities. We'll now look to rebrand because we don't have the energy or inclination to fight it."
Mr Senior, 33, said he has written to Carpmaels and Ransford to ask why they have made the request to his firm, which he claims has sold less than 100 knives so far this year.
Grylls, 40, who was appointed Chief Scout in 2009, has found fame in both the UK and America with his survival television series, including Man Vs Wild and Running Wild With Bear Grylls. He has also collaborated with knife maker Gerber to create his own range of blades and tools.
A spokeswoman for Bear Grylls Ventures refused to comment. However, after Bear Blades tweeted Grylls today, he replied: "Let me look into this."
In the letter, which has been seen by the Press Association, Carpmaels and Ransford say their client is "very concerned" about Bear Blades' application to register its logo "Bear Blades. Steel. Strength. Utility."
They wrote: "We act on behalf of Bear Grylls Ventures LLP, which is the merchandising company associated with the world renowned adventurer, writer and television presenter Bear Grylls.
"Our client is very concerned about your application to register the Bear Blades Steel. Strength. Utility, and logo mark, the dominant and distinctive element of which is the word 'bear'."
The lawyers wrote that the logo is "very similar" to their client's "Bear" mark and covers "identical and similar goods, namely knives and sheaths for knives".
They added: "Our client also objects to the use of this mark, which would create a likelihood of confusion among consumers, who would be likely to assume that 'Bear Blades' products derive from our client.
"Our client has furthermore built up a considerable amount of goodwill and the logo has acquired a reputation in the United Kingdom. Your use of a very similar mark takes unfair advantage of and is detrimental to the distinctive character and repute that our client's Bear mark enjoys."
In the letter dated July 25, Carpmaels & Ransford request that Bear Blades change its name to remove the reference to "bear", withdraws it trademark application for its Bear Blades logo and cancels the registration of the domain name bearblades.co.uk.
They also ask the company to "cease all use of any mark containing or consisting of bear or bear blades in any form and in any manner, including but not limited to online, social media, printed materials, packaging and to refrain from such use in future".
The letter goes on: "Whilst our client realises this will have a significant impact on your business, as a trade mark applicant yourself, you will appreciate the value to our client of its name and the importance of preserving exclusivity in that name.
"If you agree to comply fully and to provide written undertakings to that effect, our client is willing to discuss a suitable phase-out period for your bear name in order to facilitate your transition to a new name."
Carpmaels and Ransford requested that Bear Blades respond to them by August 7.
"If you do not agree to these requests, our client reserves the right to take all necessary steps to protect its intellectual property rights," it added.