The British retail chain was planning on opening a three story brand store on Karl Johan, and had signed a 15 year contract for the premises, with investor Christian Ringnes. The Varner group had secured the franchise rights and was planning on opening five stores in Norway.
But the name Topshop is already in use in Norway. In 2005 Arcadia Group (who runs Topshop) lost a case against Olav Eide Knudsen, regarding the rights to the name. The Topshop name was then transferred to his friend Baljinder Singh Pandher, who now runs a small store in Bergen. This store, along with others in Oslo and Drammen, sells clothes bearing the Topshop name.
- Through my lawyer, I’ve battled Arcadia for about a year. And the longer it takes, the more difficult it will be to come to an agreement. The ball is on their court now, says Baljinder Singh Pandher to DN.no.
Not only has Pandher declined every offer Topshop has made him, he is now also suing Topshop for selling clothes to Norwegian customers through their online web shop.
Knut Andreas Bostad, a lawyer in the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, says to Norwegian Fashion.no that Mr. Pandher has a difficult case.
- Unless Topshop is using Norwegian language, Norwegian currency and directly targeting Norwegian customers, it is probably not a breach of trademark in Norway. And we cannot deny Topshop shipping products to Norwegian customers.
NF: – So this is a bit like if I travel to London to buy clothes at Topshop, no one can deny me bringing it back into Norway?
Bostad: – That’s right.
According to DN.no, Pandher has also made an unconfirmed economic demand, which Topshop would not comply with.
Topshop is one of the UK’s biggest brands, with over 300 British and 51 international stores. For now it seems Norway will be left out of the loop.
Photo & assisting writer: Steven Stieng