Trademark Battle Over Ethical Brand Name

The Financial Times reports on our friends at So Organic, and their battle with Sainsbury’s over the So Organic brand name.

“The David versus Goliath battle revolves around the name So Organic, which Samantha Burlton claims she had as the title for her business well before Sainsbury came out with its food range using the same words.

Ms Burlton first registered So Organic as a trademark in early 2005 when she started selling ethically- produced cosmetics, deodorants and soaps online from her home in Greenwich.

Her business has since extended into a range of non-food products, including recycled stationery, CDs and books, which Ms Burlton now sells both online and from a small shop in Greenwich market.

Sainsbury issued its own trademark application for So Organic in January 2006, covering a much wider range of goods than food and drink, including many items that Ms Burlton now stocks.”

Read more at the FT.

2 thoughts on “Trademark Battle Over Ethical Brand Name

  1. How long will it be before some of the Mr Meanies at the helm of some of the world’s largest corporations realise that a genuine and sincere effort to be ‘ethical’ or ‘green’ (the distinction however invites an entirely different debate) requires a fundamental cultural shift from ‘mine’ to ‘ours’, from a ‘linear’ to a ‘sustainable’ model of commercial activity that quintessentially comes to rest on the need to ‘do the right thing’. This looks nothing at all like that. Behaviours such as this represent indicators, or proxies that heighten the likelihood that things are not what they seem. This looks like greenwashing by Sainsbury’s.

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  2. Hi Bill,
    Good point, it’s a shift that seems to have happened with some companies and not with many (often much larger) companies. You’re right, it does a disservice to those companies that are making a real effort and is a shame when they could easily choose a different name and avoid any clash.

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