Saturday, May 05, 2007

Lockheed Martin Battles British Head Shop, Loses

It can build aircraft that are invisible to enemy radar and travel at three times the speed of sound, but Lockheed Martin met its match when it took on a small shop in Bexleyheath that sells cannabis paraphernalia.

The multibillion-dollar company brought a complaint against Skunk Works, motto "In the leaf we trust", over the domain name ukskunkworks.co.uk .

The web address should be awarded to Lockheed Martin, lawyers for the aircraft manufacturer claimed, because Skunk Works is the name of its secret research laboratory in California where it developed the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter and the F-22 Raptor. It was also responsible for building the U-2 spy planes that flew over the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The aircraft manufacturer sent a 1,000-page document to Nominet, the company that administers British domain names, in October asserting that it was already the owner of several European trademarks for “Skunk Works” and that the cannabis accessories shop was sullying its reputation.

The Bexleyheath business responded in November with a single sheet of paper. It won both the first hearing in January, when Nominet dismissed the complaint, and the appeal at the end of last month.

Max Mulley, owner of the London shop, said that Lockheed Martin's claim that customers would be confused was ridiculous. "I don’t know what the confusion would have been — they sell aeroplanes and we sell smoking equipment. They are a multimillion-dollar company making aeroplanes and we’re a small shop in Bexleyheath."

Mr Mulley, who estimates that his shop makes about £2,000 a month, did not hire any lawyers for the case. "I've done it all myself. They've got highflying lawyers. I'm guessing the whole thing has cost them about £40,000."

Lockheed Martin declined to comment on how much it had spent, but said that it was considering other options. "Lockheed Martin respectfully disagrees with the conclusions of the panel but plans to continue to enforce its trademark rights in its famous mark."

It could attempt to bring a claim against the shop for trademark infringement at the High Court, but a legal expert told The Times that the case would be difficult and expensive.

Mark Hickey, of Murgitroyd and Company, said that Lockheed would have to argue that it was an upstanding company and that its reputation was being undermined.

3 Comments:

Blogger Meatball One said...

...have to argue that it was an upstanding company and that its reputation was being undermined.

skratt skratt skratt

5/05/2007 3:47 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

I will see you the skratten, and raise you a nyuk nyuk nyuk.

5/05/2007 4:44 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Shuttup u.

5/05/2007 9:58 PM  

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