50 most influential people in IP 2022: MIP recognises Amber Kotrri at House of Zana
Amber Kotrri is the founder of House of Zana in the UK
Another year, another David-v-Goliath trademark battle.
Amber Kotrri set up House of Zana, a handmade kimono boutique in the northern English town of Darlington, in December 2020.
Whatever her plans for the first two years of the fledgling business, they probably didn’t include a headline-making trademark spat with the Spanish fashion retailer Zara.
Kotrri did what small business owners are so often advised to do and filed a trademark application to protect her House of Zana brand at the UKIPO.
To her surprise, she attracted the ire of Zara, which claimed the mark was too similar to the Spanish clothing brand and would confuse customers.
Kotrri stood firm and fought her case at the UKIPO, as well as in the court of public opinion.
She shared her story on social media and says the support she received helped her persevere and win the case.
“I felt like I had everyone behind me. People were saying ‘this is ridiculous’,” she said.
She prevailed in August after the UKIPO issued an opinion finding no likelihood of confusion and ordered Zara to pay the costs.
It’s yet another cautionary tale for big brands that could be seen to be picking on smaller, independent rivals.
“It was a win for myself and my business, but it was also for other independents out there going through this,” Kotrri said.
“This shows you can stand up to big businesses.”