Hugo Boss responds to comedian Joe Lycett’s name change: 'We do not oppose the free use of language'

George Fenwick
Joe Lycett says he has changed his name to Hugo Boss (File Photo): Getty Images

Luxury fashion house Hugo Boss has responded to the comedian formerly known as Joe Lycett, who has changed his name to match the company's .

The comedian revealed his name change over the weekend, announcing that he's done so to take a stand against the brand's use of trademark claims to target small businesses and charities that use “boss” in their branding.

After initially remaining silent, a spokesman for the company has now said in a statement: “We welcome the comedian formerly known as Joe Lycett as a member of the Hugo Boss family.

“As he will know, as a ‘well-known’ trademark (as opposed to a ‘regular’ trademark) Hugo Boss enjoys increased protection not only against trademarks for similar goods, but also for dissimilar goods across all product categories for our brands and trademarks Boss and Boss Black and their associated visual appearance.

Celebrities attend the Hugo Boss Milan Fashion Week show in February (Getty Images for Hugo Boss)

“Following the application by Boss Brewing to register a trademark similar to our ‘well-known’ trademark, we approached them to prevent potential misunderstanding regarding the brands Boss and Boss Black, which were being used to market beer and items of clothing.

“Both parties worked constructively to find a solution, which allows Boss Brewing the continued use of its name and all of its products, other than two beers (Boss Black and Boss Boss) where a slight change of the name was agreed upon.

“As an open-minded company we would like to clarify that we do not oppose the free use of language in any way and we accept the generic term ‘boss’ and its various and frequent uses in different languages.”

According to WalesOnline, Swansea-based Boss Brewing was left with legal fees of about £10,000 in 2019 after Hugo Boss sent it a cease and desist letter when the brewer tried to register its brand.

Meanwhile, in 2018, a charity called DarkGirlBoss received a legal letter from Hugo Boss when trying to trademark their name, according to the i paper.

Comedian Hugo Boss, formerly known as Joe Lycett, legally changed his name as a way to criticise the company's use of trademark claims to target small businesses and charities who use “boss” in their branding.

Explaining the name change on BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire show, Boss said: “There’s a small company called Boss Brewing in Swansea, who are a little new business, and they tried to make a trademark for a couple of their beers, and Hugo Boss sent them a cease and desist letter, which is a legal letter that says stop doing what they think is alleged illegal activity.

“Clearly don’t like their name being used, they’ve sent dozens of these to small businesses and charities.”

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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