Peaky Blinders threat could wipe out Perth barber shop

© DC Thomson
Will Robertson outside his Sweeney Todd Barbers.

A Perthshire barber is facing legal action from a TV production company over his plans to re-brand as the Peaky Blinders.

Will Robertson, who owns and runs Sweeney Todd on South Street, received a legal writ from the makers of the hit TV show over his plans to use the name.

The writ sent to Mr Robertson by Chiever Brand Protection on behalf of Caryn Mandabach claims he is trying to “free-ride” on the reputation of the TV show under the English law of ‘passing off’.

© BBC
Peaky Blinders has been a big hit for the BBC.

The TV show is based on the Victorian-era gang who terrorised the English West Midlands between 1890 and 1910.

It has spawned a sub-culture among youths who adorn flat-caps and high-fade hair-styles similar to central character Tommy Shelby, played by Irish actor Cillian Murphy.

Mr Robertson, who has also created his own Peaky Blinders-branded hair gel for the re-launch, with 20,000 of them ordered, said he is worried about the financial costs the action may have on his business.

Posted by Sweeney Todd Perth Scotland on Tuesday, 13 March 2018

He said: “There are other businesses that use the name, such as a new bar in Liverpool, so I don’t really understand it.

“They’re a production company and we’re a barber shop. How can they say we would be infringing?

“I can only assume they are looking at moving into merchandise too.

“The thing is, it’s a generic name.

“It has been about for years so I don’t know how they can claim to own it.”

He added: “My granddad was nicknamed Peaky Blinder so that’s where we got the idea.

“I don’t know if we are able to take on such a big company.

“If you lose in court you could be looking at paying half a million pounds.”

The writ sent by Endemol Shine Group states: “Given the success of the Peaky Blinders television series, it seems that with the registration and (future) use of the name Peaky Blinders you are attempting to free-ride on the reputation of the television show.

“Additionally, the connection between Peaky Blinders and razor blades and…the distinct haircut of the lead character could create a connection with grooming.

“By using and/or registering the name PEAKY BLINDERS you will likely mislead the public into believing that your goods and services are Mandabach’s.

“We request you to reconsider your position, withdraw UK trademark application PEAKY BLINDERS, and agree that you will not use this mark or marks similar to the PEAKY BLINDERS name, now and in the future.”

Mr Robertson has now launched a Gofundme page seeking help with potential legal costs.

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