A small electrical goods shop in South Shore has been ordered to change its logo – by transport bosses in London.
The Tube Station, in Bond Street, was designed to look just like the entrance to the underground in the capital.
After being open for almost six years, its logo has now come to the attention of Transport for London (TfL), which sent bemused owner Rick Footman a legal letter demanding he changes it because it’s almost identical to theirs.
The 53-year-old said: “At first I thought it must be a prank, but when I read it and saw all the documents attached I realised it wasn’t.
“I do feel hard done by, but if I’m wrong, I’m wrong.
“It’s not as if I’m selling tickets to travel to Fleetwood on the tram.”
A spokesman for TfL said: “The roundel is a trademark and as a valuable asset it is important that we protect it.
“We have written to the owners of this shop to ask them to stop using the roundel, and we are happy to speak with them further to resolve this matter.”
Rick, of St Heliers Road in South Shore, received the letter by email two days before going on holiday at the end of last month, but was so stunned he could barely take it seriously.
“I opened my email in the morning, as I do every day,” he said.
“I saw this and I replied straight away and said, ‘Fair dos, I will get it changed.”
As well as calling in local firm JW Signs to design and print a new logo — which will feature a fluorescent tube graphic across a circle instead of the underground’s iconic blue bar – Rick has to change his stationery, a counter top, uniform, and advertising.
Overall, he estimates the work will cost him £500.
The Spurs fan, originally from Essex, said: “Lots of my customers are amazed and disgusted, and said its typical bureaucracy.
“It’s the big guy taking on the small buy. Hopefully it will not have any impact of the business once the new logo goes up, but it’s just having to do it.
“Why should I?”
In the transport firm’s letter, sent by head of intellectual property rights development David Ellis, said: “While I am sure you were not aware that the roundel was a trademark when you chose to use it in this manner, you will appreciate that TfL must protect its intellectual property.
“You are therefore requested to stop your use of the roundel and any other TfL intellectual property.
“We would be happy to give you two months for you to change the signage on your shop front, but would need confirmation that this has been done by August 3, 2016.”
Rick, who sells a collection of lighting, cables, switching, and other electrical wholesale goods, said he expects the work to be done early this week.
He said he has informed TfL of the change, and shown them his new logo, but has yet to receive a reply.
This latest row is the second of its type on the Fylde coast in a matter of months.
In October, Gusto Italian Pizza, in Church Street, Lytham, rebranded as the Lytham Pizza Company after losing its battle with national eatery Gusto.
The firm said it was being ‘bullied’ into the change, though Gusto, which opened on Dicconson Terrace earlier this year, said it had owned the trademark for many years.
A spokesman said: “I thought they wouldn’t be bothered about us, but we got a solicitor’s letter and it was very pushy, very demanding.
“We took advice from a trademark solicitor and he said, although we have a good, strong case, it could be a long battle and they have a lot of money and it would cost a lot in legal fees.”
A Gusto spokesman added: “It is only common sense to protect that business, and that is exactly what the trademark laws are designed to do.
“Any sensible business would do the same.”