A GIANT of American retailing has forced a hair salon in the Scottish town of Bathgate to change its name.
Jon and Kirsty Nelson named their West Lothian business Macys after their daughter, little imaging they would shortly face the wrath of corporate America.
The couple received a letter from a London law firm acting on behalf of Cincinnati-based Macy’s, alleging trademark infrngement.
Macy’s is worth £6bn, has almost 900 stores, stocks products by Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, and Calvin Klein, and sells mink fur coats for £8,500.
Their Bathgate “rivals”, Macys Lounge, offer female customers a cut and blowdry for £30 while men can get a cut for £9, or £13 if they want a shampoo.
None of that stopped Macy’s instructing lawyers Page White and Farrer sending Jon and Kirsty a letter.
The couple revealed on their Facebook page: “We are changing our trading name. Back in September, we received a letter from a law firm in London acting on behalf of Macy’s Inc from the USA.”
The couple discovered they were at the centre of a legal wrangle entitled “Macy’s Inc Stores West vs Macys Lounge Bathgate”.
They wrote: “This multi-billion dollar company – whose closest store to 78 North Bridge Street Bathgate is more than 3000 miles away with a rather large pond between us – has filed a trademark Infringement against us.
“It turns out that Macy’s Stores has a trademark operating within Europe that covers them for a book-worth of products and services from submarine parts, paperweights, writing materials, clocks, fishing equipment, rubber gloves. The long long list goes on.
“It also covers trademark registration EU12060943 – which cover ‘Beauty & Hairdressing Salon Services’.”
According to the couple, Macy’s claimed: “‘Macys Lounge’ is confusingly similar to ‘Macy’s’ and relates to identical services to those in their registration. The fact that the name was chosen by you because it is your daughter’s name (as stated on the website), is no defence.”
The store has had no option but to change the name and has decided to go with Maciz Lounge in order to keep their daughter’s name as the company name.
In the same post, they said: “ We wanted to fight this battle, David and Goliath style, but we did not have the funding or resources available to do so and were somewhat backed into a corner to ‘angrily’ agree to their terms of changing our name.
“We give you : MACIZ Lounge.
“This will be our new trading name from March 2018 going forward. It is still similar to what we currently use.”
They continued: “People will still be able to recommend our services and say ‘I get my hair done at Maciz’.
“Our telephone manner will remain the same. The business as a whole will effectively be as is, other than the spelling of the name will differ.
“It’s been a difficult blow to take. One we have discussed day in-day out for months, throwing names around, getting frustrated and going through all the emotions, but when a multi-billion dollar outfit throws their weight around so aggressively, there’s not a lot we can do.”
Social media users wanted to show their support for the salon and were quick to show their outrage at the American outfit.
Erin Thomson said: “And here was me thinking you guys were a branch of Macy’s famous NY department store opening in Bathgate and specialising in haircuts. Silly me. Maciz Lounge sounds fab”
Gayle Anne Lochhead said: “Ridiculous it came to this but so glad there isn’t much change.”
Helen Wilson posted: “It’s an absolute disgrace a huge organisation can victimise a small family business.”
Jamie Cameron commented: “Clearly they know you guys are on the road to world domination and are terrified. Stuff them guys.”
Jodie Robertson said: “This is absolutely shocking, usual from the big corps. New name sounds fab though.”
Shirleyann Noble Waugh posted: “Absolutely pathetic. New name is fab and won’t make a bit off difference to you guys as yous’ are amazing.”
A spokeswoman for Macy’s Inc today (thur) said: “We don’t comment on litigation matters.”