Name wrangle ends Hotspur 1 Tottenham 0

Lisa Aynsley at Hotspur 1364
Lisa Aynsley at Hotspur 1364

The delighted owner of a recently-opened boutique has scored a vital name-change victory, after giving the threats of a Premier League football club the red card.

Lisa Aynsley said she was worried after Tottenham Hotspur last week demanded she change the title of her Hotspur 1364 shop.

The letter received by Lisa Aynsley, owner of Hotspur 1364, Alnwick, from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club asking her to change the name of her shop.

The letter received by Lisa Aynsley, owner of Hotspur 1364, Alnwick, from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club asking her to change the name of her shop.

The North London club said that the Narrowgate business must remove the word Hotspur from the store, social-media, goods and marketing by the start of December.

Part of the initial communication (in full, below) stated that Tottenham Hotspur Ltd owns numerous trade-mark registrations which include several for Hotspur and concludes: ‘We appreciate that you have only recently set up your business and whilst changing its name is likely to be disruptive, it will, however, be easier for you to change it sooner rather than later.’

But Lisa dug her Spurs – or rather heels in – and told the White Hart Lane outfit that the name of her premium-brand menswear shop had nothing to do with football – but rather Alnwick’s heroic knight, Harry Hotspur.

To her relief, Tottenham backed down immediately, allowing her to keep the name.

Harry Hotspur's statue in Alnwick.

Harry Hotspur's statue in Alnwick.

Lisa, who opened the store at the end of the summer, said: “It would have been a logistical and financial nightmare if I had to change the name.

“I told them the shop is branded around Alnwick’s heritage. It is close to the Hotspur statue and the castle where he lived and I drive through the Hotspur Tower.

“The club said it was right for me to keep the brand. I’m impressed with how they handled it. As a Newcastle fan, Tottenham was the furthest thing from my mind when I branded my business.

“Spurs might have to be my second club from now on.”

A spokesman for Tottenham Hotspur said: “We share similarities with Alnwick, including a link to Harry Hotspur, who made a significant contribution in Alnwick and to our club’s history. We’re respectful of the shop’s association with the use of Hotspur in this regard.”

The club, nicknamed Spurs and with a cockerel on its crest, is said to have taken its name from the renowned medieval knight Sir Henry Percy, commonly known as Sir Harry Hotspur, or simply Hotspur, who was born in 1364 at Alnwick Castle. He was the eldest son of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland. Hotspur wore riding spurs and his fighting cocks were fitted with spurs which can be seen in the club’s crest.

Back in 1882, the football club’s founders named themselves after Harry Hotspur because of his heroic reputation and valiant nature, and so Hotspur FC was formed. They later played in Northumberland Park before moving to White Hart Lane.

The letter states: Dear Miss Aynsley, It has come to our attention that you have incorporated a company called Hotspur 1364 Limited and are operating a retail store trading under the mark Hotspur 1364 at 24 Narrowgate, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1JG.

Tottenham Hotspur Limited owns numerous trademark registrations which include several for Hotspur covering a very broad range of goods and services, including clothing and retail services.

These registrations entitle us to stop anyone else from using identical or confusingly similar brands and given their reputation also allow us to stop anyone using a brand which undermines the distinctiveness or reputation of our Hotspur brand.

We cannot allow these types of uses to continue unchecked because they erode the distinctiveness, enforceability and value of our Hotspur brand and so we are writing to you to ask you to take the following steps by December 1, 2014:

* change the name of Hotspur 1364 Ltd at Companies House so it does not contain Hotspur or anything confusingly similar to it; and

* stop using Hotspur and any brand confusingly similar to it in connection with your business (including the store, the Facebook page and any goods and marketing materials).

We appreciate that you have only recently set up your business and whilst changing its name is likely to be disruptive, it will, however, be easier for you to change it sooner rather than later.

Please respond to me by December 1, 2014, but in the meantime, if you would like to discuss this letter then please contact me using the contact details below.

Ciaran O’Sullivan, Brand Protection Manager, Tottenham Hotspur Ltd