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Thirstys reject claim from small beermat supplier

Thirstys.co.uk Limited a well established, UK based manufacturer of beermats, has rejected, what they argue amounts to a spurious and unfounded a claim by The Beermat Corporation Limited, over the use of the generic term ‘the beer mat company’.

UK registered, but Dutch controlled beer mat supplier, The Beermat Corporation Limited (“TBCL”), has attempted to claim a monopoly right to the generic term ‘the beer mat company’, insisting that Thirstys.co.uk Limited (Thirstys) use of the domain beermatcompany.co.uk, amounted to a case of ‘passing off’. In doing so, solicitors acting on behalf of TBCL, have attempted to secure assurances and claim rights to the domain’s; www.beermatcompany.com and www.beermatcompany.eu, which have been registered to Thirstys since April 2006.

A spokesperson for Thirstys.co.uk Limited said, “Quite apart from the fact that we do not use the term ‘the beer mat company’ in any of our advertising, we find it incomprehensible that any company should be so aggorant as to try and claim monopoly rights over the term ‘beer mat company’ in what is quite clearly a generic term used by many companies to describe their activities within the beermat market. ”

Thirstys also flatly rejected a claim by TBCL that the use of domain names which include the words “beermatcompany” amounts to passing off. The Thirstys spokesperson added, “The temerity of the principals at The Beermat Corporation astounds us. To claim that Thirstys could be guilty of passing off is simply ridiculous, not least because we, quite clearly, would not try and pass ourselves off as a company that is a foreign controlled beer mat supplier, when we are actually a UK based, and controlled, manufacturer of beer mats. Quite apart from the obvious, our sites clearly include the well known Thirstys logo and repeatedly make reference to our company name. ”

Thirstys have been angered by the actions and claims of TBCL, which they see as offering up a weak, ill conceived, baseless and retaliatory response to Thirstys warning to TBCL, over their blatant use of the term “Thirsty” in their Google Adword advertising. Thirstys argue strongly that they have built up substantial value in the term Thirstys and the use of this term, is being used to target Thirstys customers, given, unlike The Beermat Corportation Limited, Thirstys.co.uk Limited is a UK controlled, uk based, manufacturer of beermats, whereasThe Beermat Corporation Limited, whilst being registered in the UK and claiming to be a manufacturer, is in fact operating from an accommodation address, has no manufacturing or print plant and is controlled from Holland.

A defiant Thirstys has made clear that, whilst they completely understand why a company may want to be associated with a well established and genuine UK based manufacturer of beermats, they cannot, nor will they stand idly by whilst any organisation attempts to capitalise on this by claiming exclusive rights to the term ‘beermat company’.

There are in fact just 4 manufacturers of genuine beermats in the UK, these organisation have UK based employees and at least one printing press, this list does not include The Beermat Corporation Limited, which is believed to use one of the UK beermat manufacturers to print its beermats.

Thirstys believe that the use, by The Beermat Corporation Limited of the website description, ‘The Beer MatCorporation Ltd are a[sic] manufacturers[sic] and printer [sic] of customised beer mats, drinks coasters and drip mats Based in Lancashire, UK’. is in itself misleading.  This is because, firstly, the generally accepted definition of a manufacturer is “a person or company in the business of manufacturing’ esp., a factory owner“. Whereas The Beermat Corporation Limited do not appear to own any print press in the UK and in fact, are understood to outsource the printing to one of the 4 UK manufacturers. Secondly, the suggestion that the company is based in Lancashire, whilst technically true, it is open to interpretation, because, whilst it may be registered in Manchester (not Lancashire), Thirstys understand that the business is actually using an accommodation address which is believed to be shared by up to 200 other companies. In addition, Thirstys has been unable to establish that there are any UK based employees of The Beermat Corporation Limited, though is says that it is prepared to correct this statement if this turns our to be incorrect.

The Thirstys spokesperson closed by saying “There are many genuine, UK based beermat companies in the UK and the vast majority offer an excellent service and do not find it necessary to describe themselves as beermat manufactuer. We welcome competition in the market, which helps create a larger market for beermats and ensures that we all kept on our toes. That said, we firmly draw the line on anyone attempting to claim an automatic right to domain names that use a generic term and we will, as always, protect our position”.

26 September, 2008 Posted by | General, News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment