ENTERTAINMENT
02/03/2020 11:34 GMT | Updated 02/03/2020 12:40 GMT

Why Comedian Joe Lycett Has Legally Changed His Name To Hugo Boss

The comic has taken aim at the German fashion designer.

Comedian Joe Lycett has legally changed his name to Hugo Boss – but it’s not just for the purpose of comedy. 

Joe has taken aim at the German fashion house, after reports the company was using trademark claims to target small businesses and charities who use the name “boss”.

PA
The artist formerly known as Joe Lycett 

According to WalesOnline, Swansea-based Boss Brewing was left with legal fees totalling around £10,000 last year after the fashion brand sent it a cease and desist letter when the brewer tried to register its brand.

In 2018, The i paper reported that a charity called DarkGirlBoss received a legal letter from Hugo Boss when it tried to trademark the name.

The comic, who presents Channel 4′s The Great British Sewing Bee, posted a letter on Twitter from the UK Deed Poll Office, which confirmed he had taken official steps to “absolutely and entirely renounce, relinquish and abandon the use of my said former name”.

He then said he would be “launching a brand new product as Hugo Boss”, which will be revealed on a new series of the Channel 4 consumer rights show Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back.

Joe wrote on Twitter: “So @HUGOBOSS (who turnover approx $2.7 billion a year) have sent cease & desist letters to a number of small businesses & charities who use the word ‘BOSS’ or similar, including a small brewery in Swansea costing them thousands in legal fees and rebranding.

“It’s clear that @HUGOBOSS HATES people using their name. Unfortunately for them this week I legally changed my name by deed poll and I am now officially known as Hugo Boss.

“All future statements from me are not from Joe Lycett but from Hugo Boss. Enjoy.”

Appearing on BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire on Monday, where the host referred to him by his new name, the comic said: “Thank you for calling me Hugo Boss, I’m going to have to get used to it.”

He showed off his BBC visitor pass, which had a picture of him with his new name, and he added: “I’m now legally Hugo Boss, according to the BBC system.”

Explaining his actions, he said: “It’s a massive company taking on a little company and it’s just not fair – nobody’s going to confuse a beer with Hugo Boss.

“I don’t think I’d splash myself with Heineken in the morning on my neck… So they clearly don’t like their name being used, they’ve sent dozens of these to small businesses and charities.”

He added: “I changed my name by deed poll, and I didn’t expect the reaction… I was in the bath about an hour ago.

“I’ve legally changed my name and it’s a headache I’ve got to tell you, there’s so many things you have to do.”

A statement from Hugo Boss was read out during Hugo’s appearance on The Victoria Derbyshire Show, which said: “Following the brewery’s application to register a trade mark we approached them regarding the use of Boss in relation to two beer names in their portfolio.

“This was to avoid conflict and potential misunderstanding regarding the brands Boss and Boss Black, which had been used by the brewery but are long-standing trademarks of our company.

“The discussions clarified the situation in respect of these two brands as well as in relation to textile merchandising for the future. The brewery is able to proceed with the majority of their products without impact on their current branding.”

Founded in 1924, the fashion company – which often stylises itself as Boss – employs more than 14,000 people in 127 countries and generated sales of more than 2.7 billion euros in 2018 from its 439 stores.

HuffPost UK has contacted Hugo Boss for comment and is awaiting a response.