Dame Vera Lynn has won a trademark battle over the use of her name by an artisanal gin brand.
Halewood International applied to trade mark the Second World War singer’s name in June this year, but the 102-year-old entertainer opposed the attempt on the basis that it could appear that she was endorsing the product.
The company’s lawyers said that the Liverpool-based spirits company had chosen the trademark as a play on words, as Vera Lynn is cockney rhyming slang for gin, according to Intellectual Property Office documents.
However, Halewood was ordered to pay £1800 to Lynn after the registrar judged that the majority of the public would associate the name with the singer.
The documents said: “The applicant submits that using cockney rhyming slang is “…a use of language with which the buying public are familiar”, but has failed to provide any evidence of the level of understanding of cockney rhyming slang in the UK, or anything to illustrate the level of awareness of the term Vera Lynn with reference to gin.
“The evidence falls a long way short of showing that the relevant public for alcoholic beverages will, on encountering ‘Vera Lynn’, see it as a rhyming slang reference for gin, rather than bringing to mind the entertainer Vera Lynn, who has been in the entertainment business for 84 years.”
Taylor Wessing partner Charles Lloyd, who represented Lynn, said: “Organisations must ensure that they obtain all necessary approvals before filing for trademarks for their products, particularly when using the name of a well-known person.
“In this instance, the name and reputation of our client meant that Halewood were taking a huge risk in going ahead without her consent.”
City A.M. has contacted Halewood for comment.