close
Fashion brand

‘House of Zana’ wins court battle against Zara after high street giant tries to order it to rename it

A fashion boutique has won a legal battle against retail giant Zara after it was threatened with legal action over its brand image.

Multibillion-pound fashion giant Zara, which has stores around the world, has tried to order Amber Kotrri, who runs ‘House of Zana’, which specializes in handmade kimonos, to change name.

Zara objected to Ms Kotrri’s trademark application when she said her store’s name was “conceptually identical” to theirs and the average customer would likely confuse their two marks.

He also urged Ms Kotrri to remove any branding – but determined to fight her corner and maintain her brand, she claimed it would cause ‘irreparable damage’ to her business and bore no similarity to the brand name of Zara.

Ms Kotrri, from Darlington, who has received worldwide support for her fight against Zara, announced her happy news today saying: ‘We did it!’

House of Zana’s Amber Kotrii (left), won her case against fashion giant Zara over the name of her store (pictured alongside business partner Erin Harper of Rejoy)

Zara was opposing their trademark application when they said the name

Zara objected to its trademark application when they said the name ‘House of Zana’ (pictured in Ms Kotrri’s store sign) was ‘conceptually identical’ to theirs and the average customer would likely confuse their two brands.

Zara (pictured at one of its stores) claimed Ms Kotrii's store name was

Zara (pictured at one of its stores) claimed Ms Kotrii’s store name was ‘conceptually identical’ to theirs and wanted her to change it

In a social media post, she said: “We made it!!! Thank you all for your support.

“All kind words of strength, those who signed our petition, shared the news and to all news outlets who covered this story.

“You all gave me the courage to take on the fashion giants Zara and I will be forever grateful.” WE WON!! With so much love from Amber xxx.’

In a letter sent to Ms. Kottri, Zara also said there is a risk that “consumers may misread, mishear, mispronounce and/or otherwise perceive House of Zana as ZARA” and that the brand name “dilutes the character distinctive feature and reputation of the ZARA brand”. .

In a letter sent to Ms Kottri, Zara also said there is a risk that

In a letter sent to Ms. Kottri, Zara also said there is a risk that “consumers may misread, mishear, mispronounce and/or otherwise perceive House of Zana as ZARA” and that the brand name “dilutes the character distinctive feature and reputation of the ZARA brand”. .

Before the case was heard, she defended her small brand saying, “Our name is very meaningful and personal to us and poses no commercial threat to multi-billion dollar clothing company ZARA and its huge market.”

Having originally launched their business online in 2018, House of Zana specializes in high quality, sustainable and ethically sourced clothing.

The success of his concept store in Grange Road, Darlington saw him expand to Teesside Airport and reach a global audience online.

The former art and design student plays a pivotal role in day-to-day operations, from clothing design to fabric selection.

Meanwhile, the word Zana means “fairy” in Albanian – the country where the company was born and has a manufacturing workshop.

Ms Kotrri said in April: “We don’t think anyone will confuse or 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, while Zara is a world famous fashion brand with over 2,000 retail stores worldwide and a vast collection of products.

“There is no risk of us being confused with Zara, so why should a giant company be allowed to prevent a small company from using a name that does not resemble its own at all and which would destroy our brand ?”

“We know we’re not a threat to them, but they could destroy everything we’ve worked so hard for.”

The success of House of Zana led to a concept store in Grange Road, Darlington, which saw it expand to Teesside Airport and reach a global audience online

The success of House of Zana led to a concept store in Grange Road, Darlington, which saw it expand to Teesside Airport and reach a global audience online

Ms Kotrri also added ahead of the ruling: “We don’t think anyone has or will confuse House of Zana with Zara. We are a small company specializing in handmade kimonos.

“We have a small concept store in the North East of England and a website to help promote our products, while Zara is a world famous fashion brand with over 2,000 retail stores worldwide and a vast collection of products.

“There is no risk of us being confused with Zara, so why should a giant company be allowed to prevent a small company from using a name that does not resemble its own at all and which would destroy our brand ?”

“We know we’re not a threat to them, but they could destroy everything we’ve worked so hard for.”

She added: ‘We’ve been working hard 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 stitched together in our stock, change our social media names and storefront.

“It would cause irreparable damage to our beloved small business. We have spent years developing our dream and employing a great team. We have never and still do not see any similarity between the House of Zana name or logo and that of Zara.

“I’ve built a full team and a life for me and they can just take it away from me.

“It’s the name I built and everyone knows us because of it – how can I just change that?”

Ms Kotrri represented herself in court at a hearing

Ms Kotrri represented herself in court at a hearing

In 2016, a company in Barnard Castle, County Durham, was forced to change its name to ‘Zara Countrywear’ after being threatened by the same company.

In April, Inditex, the owner of Zara, defended its decision to hire Ms Kotrri.

A spokesperson then said: “We opposed the ‘House of Zana’ trademark application at this early stage due to its similarity to the Zara trademark name.

“We wish the company every success and continue to make efforts to contact the company directly to resolve the situation amicably.”

The MailOnline also contacted them about this recent announcement.

Hazel J. Edmonds

The author Hazel J. Edmonds