Perth Barber facing legal threat over Peaky Blinders salon plans

Will Robertson, who owns Sweeney Todd on South Street, Perth, is accused of trying to 'free-ride' on the reputation of the TV show under the English law of passing off. Picture: Google
Will Robertson, who owns Sweeney Todd on South Street, Perth, is accused of trying to 'free-ride' on the reputation of the TV show under the English law of passing off. Picture: Google
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A BARBER is facing legal action from TV bosses over plans to re-name his salon Peaky Blinders.

Will Robertson, 46, who owns Sweeney Todd on South Street, Perth, is accused of trying to ‘free-ride’ on the reputation of the TV show under the English law of passing off.

He received a writ from Chiever Brand Protection on behalf of TV producer Caryn Mandabach.

The BBC show is based on a gang which terrorised the West Midlands between 1890 and early last century.

It has spawned a sub-culture among youths who wear flat-caps and high-fade hairstyles similar to character Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy.

Will, who has also created his own Peaky Blinders-branded hair gel for the relaunch, with 20,000 ordered, said he is worried about the financial costs of the action on his business.

He said: “There are other businesses that use the name, such as a new bar in Liverpool, so I don’t really understand it.

“They’re a production company and The legal fall-out between a Perth barber shop and Peaky Blinders TV show creators is not the first trademark dispute to hit the headlines in Courier Country.

In 2013, national car dealership We Buy Any Car threatened to sue Glencross Motors of Clepington Road in Dundee after the local business displayed a forecourt sign with the message ‘wheel buy any car’.

It threatened to sue for £50,000 before backing down.

In 2012, Dunfermline chain D&G Autocare found itself at the centre of a row with Italian fashion giant Dolce & Gabbana.

It applied to register its name as a trademark to prevent other garages from copying its success.

Dolce & Gabbana’s trademark agents claimed the Fife firm’s application overlapped with their registered trademark.

However, D&G Autocare was later granted its trademark with no restriction. we’re a barber shop. How can they say we would be infringing?

“I can only assume they are looking at moving into merchandise, too.

“The thing is, it’s a generic name,” he said.

“It has been about for years so I don’t know how they can claim to own it,” he added.

He added: “My granddad was nicknamed Peaky Blinder so that’s where we got the idea.

“I don’t know if we are able to take on such a big company.

“If you lose in court you could be looking at paying half-a-million pounds,” he said.

The writ sent by Endemol Shine Group states: “Given the success of the Peaky Blinders television series, it seems that with the registration and (future) use of the name Peaky Blinders you are attempting to free-ride on the reputation of the television show.

“Additionally, the connection between Peaky Blinders and razor blades and . . . the distinct haircut of the lead character could create a connection with grooming.

“By using and/or registering the name PEAKY BLINDERS you will likely mislead the public into believing that your goods and services are Mandabach’s.

“We request you to reconsider your position, withdraw UK trademark application, Peaky Blinders, and agree that you will not use this mark or marks similar to the Peaky Blinders name, now and in the future.”

Will has launched a Gofundme page seeking £500,000 help with potential legal costs but has yet to attract any donations.