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Hugo Boss Says Scouse Slogan Infringes Copyright

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Hugo Boss Says Scouse Slogan Infringes Copyright

An artist fears he may become embroiled in a legal battle with Hugo Boss over the clothing brand he started during lockdown.

John Charles, from Liverpool, typically ends his virtual art lessons with the line 'be boss, be kind', and is now using it as the slogan for his fashion line.

However, the chiefs at Hugo Boss have taken exception to this and contacted 37-year-old John through the firm's lawyers, stating they objected to the use of the word 'boss' on any type of clothing.

In Liverpool, the word 'boss' is a slang term for great or fantastic.

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John came up with the idea to start his own clothing line during lockdown. Credit: John Charles
John came up with the idea to start his own clothing line during lockdown. Credit: John Charles

John said: "I'm totally shocked to be honest. I'm just one guy in Merseyside, I'm no threat to an international business.

"I've got a different logo, theirs is in caps [capital letters].

"When you say the word 'boss' in Liverpool, everyone knows what you mean - and you are not talking about clothes."

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John's art classes, which were free, were a huge hit during lockdown, with thousands of people tuning in.

He said the slogan was just a nice way of ending each lesson.

The dad added: "We always wanted to finish positively which is why we said 'be boss, be kind'.

Hugo Boss has demanded he stop using the word 'boss' on his clothes. Credit: John Charles
Hugo Boss has demanded he stop using the word 'boss' on his clothes. Credit: John Charles
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"We got people from Australia, Italy and Mexico taking part and their kids are all saying it.

"I even had people telling me their kids are saying it all round London."

"I'm a professional artist - any money is being put into a trust fund for my daughter as she wants to study fashion when she is older.

"She is pretty gobsmacked that the company have done this."

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In July, he then made an application to have the tag line trademarked, but a couple of months later received a letter from Hugo Boss' lawyers stating they would oppose it.

In a statement sent to the BBC, a spokesman for Hugo Boss said the brand was going to get in touch with John to see if the two parties could work something out.

It read: "We appreciate the family's engagement in the currently difficult times and are open for a mutual agreement here.

"We will be in touch with them directly."

Featured Image Credit: John Charles

Topics: Liverpool, lockdown, Art, Coronavirus, Fashion

Dominic Smithers
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