Macy’s, the enormous retail company famous for its enormous department stores, has been featured in our pages before throwing its weight around over trademark concerns. If you had thought that the company has ceased its trademark-bullying ways, a recent report featuring a tiny hair salon in Scotland named after the founding couple’s daughter will disabuse you of this notion.
Jon and Kirsty Nelson named their West Lothian business Macys after their daughter, little imaging they would shortly face the wrath of corporate America. The couple received a letter from a London law firm acting on behalf of Cincinnati-based Macy’s, alleging trademark infringement.
Macy’s is worth £6bn, has almost 900 stores, stocks products by Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, and Calvin Klein, and sells mink fur coats for £8,500. Their Bathgate “rivals”, Macys Lounge, offer female customers a cut and blowdry for £30 while men can get a cut for £9, or £13 if they want a shampoo.
Now, it should be noted that Macy’s department stores do include spas that provide hair and beauty services. The company does have valid trademark for these services as well. All that being said, the idea that there would be any true confusion in the marketplace between these department store spas and a tiny storefront salon in Bathgate is plainly absurd. To drive this point home, the nearest Macy’s department store is several thousand miles away.
But, as we’ve mentioned many times before, trademark bullying works. The couple behind the salon announced recently that they would change the name of their business. Though, for those that appreciate a dash of trolling in their lives, the change the couple made might not be exactly what Macy’s had in mind.
“ We wanted to fight this battle, David and Goliath style, but we did not have the funding or resources available to do so and were somewhat backed into a corner to ‘angrily’ agree to their terms of changing our name.
“We give you : MACIZ Lounge.
“This will be our new trading name from March 2018 going forward. It is still similar to what we currently use.”
And, so, the full weight of the Macy’s legal efforts managed to get a couple of letters changed, and that’s about it. The pronunciation for the business remains the same. Most of the name remains. Don’t get me wrong, this is a massive pain in the ass that costs very real money, and a situation the couple should never have had to go through, but the results of the trademark bullying are rather beautifully silly.
Not that patrons of the salon are laughing.
Social media users wanted to show their support for the salon and were quick to show their outrage at the American outfit.
Erin Thomson said: “And here was me thinking you guys were a branch of Macy’s famous NY department store opening in Bathgate and specialising in haircuts. Silly me. Maciz Lounge sounds fab”
Helen Wilson posted: “It’s an absolute disgrace a huge organisation can victimise a small family business.”
Jamie Cameron commented: “Clearly they know you guys are on the road to world domination and are terrified. Stuff them guys.”
Macy’s may not care about these responses, given that, again, these are not even potential customers, since there are no Macy’s department stores anywhere nearby. Still, from a branding perspective, this isn’t a great way to make the brand friends around the globe.
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