Trademarking your own name

AC Lyle - The inventor of Ginger Beer
AC Lyle – The inventor of Ginger Beer

Back in 1884 my great, great, great Granny, Elizabeth Lyle  started a soft drinks firm in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. It grew and grew and survived two world wars, but sadly didn’t survive the death of my Grandfather Edgar Lyle in 1964, when the business was sold to Hooper Struve, which was in turn later bought by R Whites. His own father Alexander Lyle who died in 1953  was credited on his death with being the man who invented Ginger Beer.

I still have all the paperwork relating to this and all the others recipes that were left to me by my own Granny Jean Lyle and I promised my own father Anthony, I would bring it back to the market when I had the required experience and funds to do so. I started this process in the summer this year.

But today, this has been blocked by a rather superior trademark firm from London Venner Shipley who have contested my trademark application for the name ‘Lyles’ in the area of class 32, which loosely relates to soft drinks.

The fact that our name is a family name and the business started before their own clients’ is irrelevant. because they own a trademark and have employed expensive but illiterate lawyers (who like to use tautological expressions to sign off letters). Yes, yes, I will withdraw my application immediately, asap and promptly Messrs Venner and Shipley.

Venner Shipley

I think that’s quite sad. I also think it is truly awful that they have been allowed to send such an appallingly written letter to let me know.

For the record, the Trade Mark Office staff have been fabulous and were genuinely trying to find a way to help me get around their lawyers, but if I can’t work with my own name, what’s the point in putting my heart and soul in trying to rebuild an amazing family business and who can really afford to take these firms on?

12 thoughts on “Trademarking your own name

  1. Hello John
    So … this is what has been keeping you busy!
    What an amazing story and you must not let there be an end.
    Being the brand expert you are – you absolutely must continue to find a solution or work around the situation.
    Look forward to hopefully more posts on this story.
    Best wishes of the season…

  2. There are very few law firms, sadly, who dare to break with convention and add a touch of warmth to their writing (supposedly avoiding misinterpretation…and loss of superiority, of course). Not much has changed since Dickens parodied the profession well over 150 years ago.

    Good try though!

  3. Scan the ginger beer paperwork and update Wikipedia with it.

    That would give your brand a lot of credibility. I’m sure you could market the drink as a forgotten family recipe – the way that ginger beer should taste..

    1. Whoops sorry meant to write that I’d found a lovely old bottle with your great x3 granny’s name on it, I was researching who E. Lyle & sons were and came across this message. I know your post is quite old but i found it very interesting. The bottle says Trade mark on it? does that not still stand? I can send you a photo if you like but I’m sure you have tonnes of the old bottles, I just love collecting them as they wash up in our little stream in Lamberhurst.

  4. Hi . Came upon this information quite by accident whilst googling a wooden box we found at the back of our garage with Hooper Struve on it . 3/- deposit and a metal disc with 6/- Canada Dry We live in Kent so pleased we have a little bit of your history .

  5. Wow what a story….a relative that invented ginger beer.
    Surely she took it to market and maybe like Dom Perignone she found the way to safely bottle it for public sale.
    I found one of her bottles today and after tea , ginger beer is my favourite beverage.
    Win the right to produce this legacy as I would really like to try the authentic taste of a real ginger beer.

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