Fearne Cotton Boots Line

Retail Giant Boots PLC has just filed two trademark applications which suggest (but don’t confirm, usual terms and conditions apply*) that Fearne Cotton is going to be launching a new clothes range soon, through them or, presumably, one of their subsidiaries.

Firstly, and while I don’t claim to be an expert on Boots PLC or the retail sector generally, do Boots or any of it’s subsidiaries or associated companies sell clothes, and if so, which one??

Secondly, if none of those companies do sell clothes, and since the Walgreen takeover, does this mean that Boots is about to start selling clothes, or about to make an acquisition of a company or entity that does?

Answers on a postcard!

Actually Boots do have 35 trademarks (see them at the bottom) for clothing classes for trademarks, so maybe it’s not THAT unusual, however the applications for Fearne’s trademarks are ONLY for clothes type goods, and specifically:

Goods and services

  • 25Clothing, footwear, headgear.

 

The first application is just for the word ‘Fearne’, like so:

EU Trademark Application - Fearne Cotton Boots Range - TM Application 1

 

The Second trademark is for the specific logo for “Fearne By Fearne Cotton” , like so:

 

Fearne By Fearne Cotton Range - Trademark Filed By Boots PLC

Incidentally, the trademark registries would suggest that:

  1. Fearne isn’t a very common name
  2. Fearne Cotton has never had a trademark before
  3. None of the other firms that have had Fearne do ranges with them before ever applied for a trademark (which is probably lucky for boots)

Here’s a full list of all trademark applications globally involving the word #Fearne

Fearne Cotton - Not A Very Common Name It Appears

Yes, that’s right, there’s three of them

And two are the ones the subject of this post

There’s some fairly nerdy (I will spare you**) law considerations about whether ‘Fearne’ is similar to ‘Fern’ to the point of the possibility of confusion arising (probably), and that might cause and issue with the registration of the word ‘Fearne’ on its own. There’s also an issue about whether the logo is sufficiently distinctive or is just a word in a commonn font (again probably) which has caused problems for the likes of ‘Extra’ chewing gum, whose logo was previously refused protection on this grounds. There’s also the issue of a person being able to use their own name regardless of trademark, but arguably this wouldn’t apply to Boots, and there’s a question about licencing that right…….Oh, it turns out I wont spare you**.

Here’s the list of 35 trademark applications by boots (they have 268 EU Trademark applications in total) for ‘Class 25’, which includes clothes:

Boots Trademark In The Clothes Classification

*Terms and Conditions and all the yada yada bits that most people won’t read

The fact that someone applies for a trademark doesn’t’  mean they are going to use it, most PR agencies will tell you this is just a pre-emptive action, or part of their common practice in managing their trademark portfolio. You can see my views on this line of reasoning HERE