Business battle over town name

A BUXTON businessman is embroiled in a legal battle with High Peak Borough Council over the name of his new company – which they say they own.

Neil Scowcroft recently started up the company Buxton Spa Aromatics, selling handmade perfumes, and had a stall at the Artists and Designers Fair in the Pavilion Gardens two weeks ago when he was approached by a council official and told the name of his business was not legal because it breached a trademark owned by authority.

The council has paid to register trademarks for Buxton, Buxton Spa and Buxton Peak, but only for certain types of business – none of which Mr Scowcroft believes applies to his company.

He said: “My first reaction was simply: can an individual or organisation trademark a geographical location such as the name of a town or borough?

“The registration of the “Buxton Spa” trademark and the team of lawyers hired to protect this asset has done nothing but been an extra cost to the taxpayer.

“I welcome the idea of the local council generating extra revenue and appreciate the trademark’s significant value to the High Peak taxpayer.

“However over the last ten years I have not seen one item at the Tourist Information Centre or anywhere else in Buxton carry the “Buxton Spa” branding.

“The Legal Department of High Peak Borough Council have advised I seek professional help from an Intellectual Property Lawyer and have requested I transfer the website domain name to their possession,” Mr Scowcroft added.

“I cannot afford the extra expense of a lawyer. However I have taken steps to trademark “Buxton Spa Aromatics” with the use of perfumes and other toiletries.”

A spokesperson for High Peak Borough Council said: “The Buxton Spa trademark is one of three owned by the Council.

“The other two are licensed to Nestle Waters Ltd. The Council acquired the Buxton Spa trademark many years ago for use in the branding of spa-related goods such as towels and toiletries.

“The Council is unable to comment on individual cases but always works with individuals/businesses to ensure the best outcome. This might include entering into a licensing arrangement or other agreement about what can and can’t be sold.

“The Council is committed to protecting the trademark because of its potentially significant value to the taxpayer.

“We are in discussions with Buxton Spa Aromatics but cannot comment further”

The council confirmed the three trademarks Buxton, Buxton Peak and Buxton Spa had been registered by them but said the first two related solely to mineral water so anyone with ‘Buxton’ in the title of their business or goods would not be infringing their trademark provided that there was no association with the business of natural mineral water.