Thursday, 9 May 2013

Litigious doors

Our nice postman Andy delivered a Royal Mail flyer yesterday, advising us that our local delivery office is relocating. The small print at the bottom states, ‘Royal Mail, the Cruciform and the colour red are registered trade marks of Royal Mail Group Ltd.’

Apparently the colour red (viz. Pantone 485) has been a registered trademark of Royal Mail for some years; I’m just slow on the uptake. Bagging a colour as a trademark seems a bit unreasonable, particularly when the colour (or more precisely, Pantone 485) also features on umpteen other logos, including General Electric, Ray Ban, Vodaphone, 3M, Prudential, Toyota, Hyundai, Mobil and Transport for London, not to mention the Red Cross, the Scottish Premier League and the flags of Germany, Canada, Spain, Bolivia and England. Switzerland is another, which also happens to employ the cruciform. Presumably the Swiss postal service would be in big trouble now, if it hadn’t plumped for Veuve Clicquot yellow instead.

Registering colours has become a bit of a trend. Cadburys own purple (Pantone 2685C), BP green, the AA mustard yellow, T-Mobile magenta, UPS brown, Tiffany Cambridge blue – and so on. They belong to a family of unconventional trademarks which include sounds and smells (if the Royal Mail were to choose a smell characteristic of its service, it should probably be that of poo. I say that as one who has just had to pay it £8 to collect a £2 customs fee on an imported CD).

Where has the Delivery Office moved to? Maidstone’s Spectrum Business Estate. Presumably it was short of red. Meanwhile, I wonder if I ought to repaint some of our doors to avoid litigation with Royal Mail, John Deere, Caterpillar and Viagra?


  1. I wonder if I can claim the blue on the Union Jack and then request back payments from the Realm?

    1. Go for it, Steve, Pantone 280, I believe...

  2. I've decided t copyright one else seems to want it so I thought I would...

    I'm just beginning to catch up on your May posts, as they all managed to escape me so far...

  3. Orange it is. I'm amazed I'm still on your radar, as I've neglected the blog. Got some serious catching up to do on yours!