Small fashion company to take on high street giant Zara over ‘same brand’ claims

A small fashion company is to face high street giant Zara in court over claims it has an ‘identical brand’.

The retailer has threatened legal action against Darlington-based House of Zana.

Owner Amber Kotrri launched the clothing brand online in 2018 and opened her first store in Darlington a year later.

When she tried to trademark the House of Zana name, she received a notice of objection, followed by a letter from lawyers representing Zara saying the mark was ‘conceptually identical’ to theirs and ‘confusingly similar’ for the customers.

The letter states that there is a risk that “consumers misread, mishear, mispronounce and/or otherwise perceive House of Zana as Zara” and that the brand name “dilutes the distinctiveness and reputation of the Zara brand. “.

Ms Kotrri said she was asked to rename her business and remove all existing brands, but she refused to sign the agreement, saying there was “no risk of us being confused with Zara” and that the change would “cause irreparable damage” to the company.

The final hearing to decide whether she can keep the House of Zana name is due in May.

Ms. Kotrri started the business while living with her husband in Albania, taking the name from the Albanian word for “fairy”.

She said: “Our name is very meaningful and personal to us and poses no commercial threat to Zara and its huge market.

“We don’t think anyone has or will confuse House of Zana with Zara. We are a small business specializing in handmade kimonos. We have a small concept store in the North East of England and a website to help promote our products.

“We’ve gone to great lengths to create this unique brand, and coming from battling the pandemic, the last thing we want to do is be forced to rebrand, remove all the labels that are sewn into our stock, to change our social media and storefront names.

“It would cause irreparable damage to our beloved small business. We have spent years developing our dream and employing a great team.

Zara has been contacted for comment.

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