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Historic Electric Ballroom music venue wins trademark battle

Owner Kate Fuller relieved that 'Electric Ballroom' only means on thing in the public's mind

28 June, 2017

A WORLD-famous music venue in Camden Town has found itself in a battle with a clothing firm that attempted to trademark the name “Electric Ballroom”.

Kate Fuller, whose family has run the Electric Ballroom, in Camden High Street, for more than 70 years, said she was “very relieved” that the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) place limitations on the name being used by a different business.

Fashion boss Ara Ashdjian sparked two years of legal proceedings after applying to claim the trademark. The IPO ruled this week that Mr Ashdjian could only use the name in limited circumstances and around the sale of gowns for ballroom dancing.

Ms Fuller, whose father Bill set up the Electric Ballroom, said: “We have our own merchandise, our staff wear clothing with Electric Ballroom on it, and to have someone claim they could use our name as they did not think we had T-shirts on sale – we could not believe what was happening. I am extremely pleased it has been recognised that the Electric Ballroom means one thing in the public’s mind – our venue.”

The club supplied evidence of its famous past which has seen some of the world’s biggest musical acts perform on its stage, including The Clash, Sir Paul McCartney, Madonna and Prince.

Mr Ashdjian had argued that his line of business was different but Ms Fuller’s legal team told the IPO that their well-loved brand should not be undermined. The venue has been trading as Electric Ballroom since 1978. It also argued that a Sunday morning indoor clothing market would be harmed by someone selling clothes elsewhere with “Electric Ballroom” on their label.

Even people who had never been to a gig at the club were aware of it, Ms Fuller’s representatives said, and the venue spent around £37,000 a year on advertising which kept it fresh in people’s minds.

Mr Ashdjian’s representative, trademark attorney Rowland Buehrlen of legal firm Beck Greener, said: “The name was coined because the garments to be sold are mainly for use in ballroom dancing and the word electric invokes a feeling normally associated with dancing.” Mr Buehrlen told the New Journal the decision gave his client the right to use the name solely on clothing for ballroom dancing – which is what he had always set out to do.

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