A Brixton-based businesswoman is locked in a battle with an American firm over the name of her website.
Lizzy Daly has been running her online shop shabbychicoriginals.co.uk, selling gifts and homeware from her home in Merredene Street, Brixton Hill, for 18 months. But she has now received cease and desist letters from Shabby Chic Brands, based in California, who say they license the trademark for the term “shabby chic”.
She has run the business with her husband John since being made redundant and has put her “heart and soul” into it. On top of all the stress of an international rights battle, John and Lizzy are also expecting a baby in only two weeks.
She told the Brixton Blog: “I am in total shock that they can’t see that shabby chic is a generic term. Anyone knows that is.
“We’re fighting it at the moment, but it’s about staying positive and knowing that you’re right. We have a baby on the way in a couple of weeks so everything has come at once.”
Mrs Daly has lived in Brixton for 10 years and says she loves living in Merredene Road, with its regular street parties and community spirit.
The couple has already spent thousands of pounds on a lawyer to fight the case. It will cost thousands more through lost business if they are forced to change the website name. They are trying to prove to the Trademark Office that “shabby chic” is a commonly used term and should not be subject to trademark rights in the UK.
A spokesman for Brand Sense Partners, who own the trademark, told the Standard: “The proceedings are at a very early stage and Mrs Daly is required to explain the basis for her claim.
“Our clients will vigorously defend any challenge to their trademark rights which they have built up over many years. It would be inappropriate to make any further comment about ongoing legal proceedings.”