Artist reaches solution with Hugo Boss after using 'Boss' on designs

Artist reaches solution with Hugo Boss after using 'Boss' on designs

Designer from Liverpool who was sent legal letter from Hugo Boss for using Scouse slang ‘Boss’ on his clothes reaches ‘amicable solution’ with fashion giant

  • Hugo Boss sent a letter to Liverpool-based artist John Charles in September 
  • The father-of-one had applied for a trademark for his ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’ designs
  • Letter notified him that Hugo Boss would file to oppose the trademark 
  • Hugo Boss and the popular artist have now reached an ‘amicable solution’ – and John said ‘it was all worth it 

Fashion giant Hugo Boss has reached an ‘amicable solution’ with a Merseyside artist over the merchandise he produced using the word ‘boss.’ 

John Charles, originally from Kirkby, applied for a trademark for his ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’ designs in September after local parents began enquiring about merchandise for a free virtual art class he set up during the first lockdown. 

The artist later received a letter from solicitors Simmons & Simmons, who act for the Hugo Boss group of companies, saying they planned to file a ‘Notice of Threatened Opposition’ against the application on behalf of their client.

John said the trademarking process was going fine until he received the letter which said Hugo Boss object to the use of the word ‘boss’ on any sort of apparel and that he initially thought that letter ‘was a joke.’

Father-of-one John Charles (pictured) was hit with a threatening legal letter from lawyers representing the luxury fashion brand after he applied to trademark his ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’ clothing and hat designs

The dad-of-one, who lives in Huyton, is best known for painting some of Liverpool’s most iconic buildings and figures and told the Liverpool Echo the money earned from the venture would help pay towards his ‘daughter’s future.’

At the time, it was understood the fashion giant would be contacting John to seek a resolution.

Now, Hugo Boss and the popular artist have reached an ‘amicable solution’ – and John has said ‘it was all worth it.’

John said: ‘The public was ridiculously positive and behind us.

‘It was just us, the little people from Huyton going up against Hugo Boss, one of the biggest fashion companies in the world.

‘It was really stressful. There was a point when I said to my wife Jen should we kick this on its head because of everything we’re going through, but we didn’t want it to end.

‘It was the principle of it and I was going to go through with it.’

Hugo Boss (store, pictured) and the Liverpool-based artist have now reached an ‘amicable solution’  

John’s story went viral and his legal battle began to ‘move at a rapid pace.’ 

 ohn and Jen represented themselves in the first meeting with the Hugo Boss legal team however Nama Zarroug Murray from Astraea Legal offered to take on the case.

John said: ‘We’ve now reached an amicable solution and the key thing is that we’re able to continue our free online art classes and release our merchandise to the public officially.

‘I’d like to say a massive thank you to the public for all their support, it’s been really overwhelming.

‘And most of all, Astraea Legal, without them we wouldn’t have got this far.’

John said he was ‘buzzing’ when the news was confirmed and that himself and Jen are now looking forward to continuing to build ‘an empire’ for their daughter Emmy, aged ten.

The business’s official website is launching tomorrow and customers will be able to finally get their hands on Be Boss, Be Kind hoodies, hats and more. 

He said: ‘We were buzzing. It was like thank god it’s over and now we can work on it and Emmy has got her little empire there and waiting.

Mr Charles, who is best known in Liverpool for painting some of the city’s most iconic buildings and figures, said the money earned from the clothing venture would help pay towards his daughter’s Emmy future

‘Emmy, she has a big part to play in it and we can put the profits towards her future and what she wants to do when she’s older.

‘She wants to be heavily involved in the whole process and she’s really excited.’

The Be Boss, Be Kind art classes are also still taking place during holidays and annual occasions, with their next virtual session lined up for Christmas.

John said the name Be Boss, Be Kind was inspired by a phrase he and his daughter Emmy used to sign off each virtual art session.

He previously said: ‘One of our biggest mottos was at the end of each class, we would always say to everybody ‘Be Boss Be Kind’.

‘It was rather that than talking about what was going on with Covid, we didn’t want to have any of that involved in the class.

‘Scousers always say boss, it’s another way of saying nice. Scousers have said that for years, way before I was born.’

Residents across Merseyside also showed their support for John and said it is ‘easy to see’ that his logo has no connection to the German fashion giant, Hugo Boss and that ‘Scousers have used the word ‘boss’ for decades.’

In August 2019, Wales Online reported Swansea-based multi-award winning brewery Boss Brewing, applied to own the trademark of its name, which was later resolved.

The story also hit the news again earlier this year after comedian Joe Lycett officially changed his name to Hugo Boss as an act of solidarity with small businesses who have been approached by the company.

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