Tank is standing its ground against British American Tobacco, which wants it to halt the manufacture of a miniature novel packaged in a cigarette box-style pack.
BAT claims that the cover of Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Undefeated too closely resembles its Lucky Strike cigarette packet design.
The tobacco manufacturer has asked Tank to sign an agreement ‘to stop all unauthorised use of the Lucky Strike trademark or any sign which is visually or colourably similar’, says Tank’s solicitor Clare Griffiths, of Be Legal.
Following talks last month, it is understood that BAT dropped demands for Tank to recall the books, pulp them and pay an out-of-court settlement for trademark infringement. But Tank remains unhappy with BAT’s latest terms.
‘BAT claims that the Lucky Strike trademark is a rectangular cigarette packet device, a white background, a circle with four concentric circles and a stripe across the top of the box,’ says Griffiths.
‘But it does not mention the Lucky Strike lettering – surely the most important part of the trademark. Also, many cigarette packets contain these four elements,’ she adds.
Tank’s founder Masoud Golsorkhi says, ‘I have no qualms about companies protecting designs, but extending their claims on graphics, shapes and colours is objectionable. Designers are increasingly confronted with this level of protection and it infringes on our ability to use the world around us.’
The title in question reaches the end of its run in March, when the Tales to Take Your Breath Away series is replaced by six new titles.
BAT declined to comment.