Halewood faces opposition from Vera Lynn over gin trademark

Centenarian singer dubbed the ‘Forces’ Sweetheart’, Dame Vera Lynn, has opposed an application by Halewood Wines & Spirits to trademark her name in relation to a proposed gin.

Image: Wiki Commons

Lynn, known for her war-time anthems including We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover, is reported to have opposed Halewood’s application to trademark a gin brand.

According to records published by the Intellectual Property Office, a trademark for ‘Vera Lynn’ was submitted by Halewood on 14 June last year. However, on 2 October, the application was opposed by Lynn herself.

The trademark application is currently marked as ‘awaiting decision’ following a tribunal hearing.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Halewood said the trademark tribunal hearing had occurred last Tuesday 12 November, with a decision not expected until February 2020.

The statement continued: “We applied for Vera Lynn as a trademark for gin. The application was made due to the fact Vera Lynn is rhyming slang for gin, much like the registered Ruby Murray for curry trade mark.”

Virginia Lewis-Jones, Lynn’s daughter, told the Daily Mail that her mother was “very upset” and against the application, as she “doesn’t drink gin and certainly would not put her name to anything alcoholic”.

The publication noted that Lynn had instructed her legal representation, law firm Taylor Wessing, to oppose Halewood’s application, which was made “without asking or notifying her”.

The paper also reported that Halewood had offered to donate bottles of its proposed gin to Lynn’s charity.

Partner at Taylor Wessing, Charles Lloyd, told the Daily Mail that Halewood was “trading off the goodwill associated with Dame Vera’s name and international reputation without any justification”.

Lynn, 102, who is also known for her charity work, was the first centenarian performer to have an album in the UK charts.

Halewood’s case bears a resemblance to that of rum brand Sailor Jerry. In June this year, the widow of the tattooist that inspired the ‘Sailor Jerry’ rum brand sued brand owner William Grant & Sons over use of the name.

Louise Collins, widow of Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins, accused the spirits producer of making “obscene” and “ill gotten” gains from the brand which, she says, was created without permission to use her late husband’s name or artwork.

It was reported that a meeting between the two parties has been arranged.

William Grant did not actually create the rum brand, which was launched back in 1999 and was only bought by the spirits group in 2008. The company insisted that it had bought the brand in “good faith”.

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