By The Canadian Press
HALIFAX – An expert on trademark law says a national chain that threatened to sue local Halifax-area barbershop for trademark infringement would not have stood a chance in court.
Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop, which has more than 60 Canadian locations, has apologized for issuing a cease-and-desist letter that said barber Thong Luong had to change the name of Tommy’s Barber Shop by May 22 or face court action.
On Thursday, the company backed down amid a public backlash, saying it now has the “relevant information” it needed to reverse course.
Christene Hirschfeld, a lawyer for BoyneClarke LLP in Halifax, says Tommy’s Barber Shop was registered with the province’s Registry of Joint Stocks well before Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop applied for trademark.
She says that means the small-business owner was well in his rights to keep the name, regardless of what Tommy Gun’s had to say about it.
Luong says Tommy Gun’s retreat was caused in part by social media posts condemning the chain’s heavy-handed approach toward a small, family-owned business.
Hirschfeld says bigger businesses put their reputations at risk whenever they decide to take on a small, local business.