Infringing the Trademark...


Creative Shell is the new Shell Designs

I haven't posted anything in 4 months  - I'm still alive!!! After the passing of one of my best friends and then a big trademark saga, I've been feeling down and my high spirits were dampened..... well drenched!

It was September 11, a memorable day already and I came home from work and had received a letter from 'Shel Design' (yes i spelt it correctly, one 'l') saying that I was infringing upon her trademark and must cease operating under the business name of 'Shell Designs.' My heart sank, it felt like everything I had worked so hard for was just ripped straight out from under my feet!

Click to enlarge and read the letter 
I had always dreamed of having my own business, even as a little girl I had my own business called 'Handmade by Shelley' where I made all sorts of things - cards and beaded angels! So for someone to tell me I couldn't have my business name anymore was a shock. At that point it seemed my business venture was over, and the only resolution was to give up. Although in the back of my mind I knew Nanny would be disappointed if I let this hold me back!

I'd done everything right, I got an ABN number and I registered my business name and it was accepted!!! I even checked the trademark website for 'Shell Designs' and nobody had trademarked it (not thinking to search for 'Shell Design' without the plural.)

'Shel Design' had trademarked the words 'design', 'Shel' AND 'Shell' in relation to graphic design, even though it wasn't in her business name. Unfortunately for me it was too similar to 'Shel Design.'

I was threatened with legal action if I didn't change everything over within 30 days, I had to change my business name, remove any type of advertising with my business name on it and hand over my domain name to 'Shel Design'.

What I didn't realise was that trademarks over ride business names full stop. I had no chance! I was even able to speak with another business that received the same letter from the same woman. 'Shell Design Partnership' were such a great help - letting me know my rights as they had been through everything I was about to go through! They had been established for 10 years. Then 'Shel Design' comes along 10 years later, trademarks a few words and hey presto, so long 'Shell Design Partnership' - I hardly see that as being fair but its how the cookie crumbles.

I had to deal with it and move on! It was a stressful few months, there was problem after problem,  I thought it would never end, and coming up with a new business name was so difficult... not to mention business cards and an entire new website!

It's 4 months later and finally all over. Looking back, although I'm sad to say goodbye to 'Shell Designs' I'm so glad it happened! Now I have a far more diverse name - 'Creative Shell' and a much better logo! As I always say - things happen for a reason and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.