Stratford tourism firm seeks damages over 'stolen' Shakespeare brand

A Stratford-upon-Avon tourism organisation has accused a business development agency and its PR consultancy of 'stealing' its brand identity.

Stratford-upon-Avon: home of Shakespeare
Stratford-upon-Avon: home of Shakespeare

The STMO Media Group is seeking damages after accusing Stratforward Business Improvement District and its PR agency Severn Communications of brand identity theft and breach of copyright, stating that they have ‘stolen’ its ‘Not Just Shakespeare’ brand.

STMO has also accused Stratforward of breach of trust.

Stratforward included the proposed ‘Stratford. It’s not just Shakespeare’s, it’s yours’ branding in its August newsletter for the consideration of its levy payers.

Despite Stratforward having now withdrawn the proposed branding, STMO Media Group is continuing its fight, claiming that the brand statement has ‘already been widely circulated’.

STMO Media Group CEO Dave Matthews said: ‘A simple four-word Google search would indicate the presence of an organisation trading in Stratford-upon-Avon using the Not Just Shakespeare branding.'

He claimed that Severn Communications 'failed to research their proposals and branding ideas', while Stratforward 'showed a woeful disregard for the interests of a BID levy payer by effectively "stealing" their brand identity and using it in direct competition against them'.

STMO Media Group has contacted the secretary of state responsible for business improvement districts about the accusations.

Severn Communications and Stratforward declined to comment.

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