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Second-hand bookstore faces fashion giant in trade mark dispute

The owner of a small Turkish bookstore called Sahaf Hermes is facing French fashion giant Hermès in an ongoing trade mark dispute.

This dispute arose after Umit Nar, owner of Sahaf Hermes, filed an application to register the store name as a trade mark in late 2021. The God of Hermes is often associated with Izmir, the seaside town where Nar’s bookshop is located, and it has been argued that the names of Gods should belong to ‘the cultural heritage of humanity’ rather than international companies.

Despite the fact that the two companies operate in different sectors, the luxury fashion brand has claimed in a court filing that there is similarity and a risk of confusion between the two marks. However, the parties have co-existed for 15 years with no evidence of confusion. Nar has attempted to draw attention to this on social media, stating that ‘Hermès sells luxury leather bags for thousands of euros, and I am selling second-hand books worth 15 Turkish lira (45 cents)’.

The second hearing in the trial is scheduled for 27 March 2024, it is to be seen in whose favour the court will decide. If you have any questions relating to the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

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