Trademark disputes

Vera Lynn wins gin trademark battle

Very Lynn with members of the armed forced
Getty Images

A gin company has been ordered to pay Dame Vera Lynn £1,800 in legal costs after losing a case to trademark the singer's name for its drink.

Cheeky Halewood International applied to register the trademark "Vera Lynn" in June last year, due to its use in cockney rhyming slang for the word gin.

The 102-year-old opposed it on the basis that using her name could be seen as an endorsement of the product.

The firm argued 'Vera Lynn' is more known as slang, than for the singer.

However, trademark hearing officer Al Skilton disagreed.

She said: "The applicant... 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."

Trademarking Mother Theresa's sari

Nun's outfit copyrighted by Kolkata charity
A Kolkata charity has copyrighted the blue and white striped pattern on nun Mother Theresa's sari. She was known during her life for her pioneering work helping the poor of India. She was also known for the white sari fringed with blue stripes, which members of her Missionaries of Charity still wear. Now the order has trademarked the pattern on the sari, and their lawyer says legal action will be taken if people breach the trademark. How does that sit with the principles of a religious order that embraces poverty and charity? 
John Allen is a veteran Catholic journalist, now editor of the Catholic news website Crux. 

(Image: Mother Theresa nuns wearing blue and white sari. Copyright: Getty Images)