Thursday, 19 January 2017

Bran Tub # 8: Trade Marks, Bass Pale Ale, Art and UK Law …



The Law of Unintended Consequences runs to blog posts … I’d added in my Marmite v Bovril post a painting by Manet “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère” which features a bottle of Bass Beer with the Red Triangle logo in ‘full view’ …


… the Bass company was a pioneer in international brand marketing, which thanks to Bazza, from the blog “To Discover Ice”, we found out about via his comment.


Listening to University Challenge recently, the question arose ‘what was the first Trade Mark to be registered in the UK’ … well I knew that answer!


"A bar at the Folies-Bergere" -
by Edouard Manet (1882)


The Trade Mark Registration Act of 1875, came into force on 1 January 1876 with Bass being the first to register two of their images as trade marks: the Bass Red Triangle for their pale ale and the Bass Red Diamond for their strong ale.





In UK law, the term as defined under the Trade Marks Act 1994 is “trade mark”, not “trademark” as in the laws of other countries, including the US.


A trade mark can be a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, sound, shape, signature or any combination of these elements: it’s a complicated legal guarantee that needs to be correctly registered with, in our case, the UK Intellectual Property Office.


In 1862 the Merchandise Marks Act made it a criminal offence to imitate another’s trade mark “with intent to defraud or to enable another to defraud”.


An early advertisement for
Bass' No.1 Barley Wine
In 1875 the Trade Marks Registration Act was passed which allowed formal registration of trade marks at the UK Patent Office for the first time.  Registration was considered to comprise prima facie evidence of ownership of a trade mark, with the Bass images as trade marks being the first registered on New Year’s Day 1876.


We now have the Trade Marks Act 1994, which implements the European Trade Marks Directive into national law.  This adds another complicated law into our legal way of life … and will perhaps need to be unravelled in the course of Brexit.


At this point I close the conversation – as my main object has been achieved: highlighting the start of obvious brand advertising in paintings in this country – to which Edouard Manet and Picasso (in his Cubist period around 1914) subscribed; while in an episode of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Bloom, the fictional protagonist, observes the Bass logo.


A road sign in the City of London

I would think in the scheme of life – brand advertising has been around for millennia … with perhaps the images associated with particular trades, which appeared on carts, wagons, building walls, doorways, via town criers etc as the most obvious to apply …





The Worshipful Company of
Bakers' Crest


… while in trade mark treatises it is thought that blacksmiths who made swords in the Roman Empire are thought of as being the first users of trade marks.  Henry III in 1266, required by law, that all bakers use a distinctive mark for the bread they sold …





Now brand names are appearing everywhere … and we cannot get away from them … that red triangle and red diamond being the first two … when formalisation of trade marks became regulated in the 1800s …



I will be posting this on Thursday … as some of us will be completely switching off on Friday, or become totally embroiled in what the land beyond the pond is serving up … I shall, I hope, be lost in some creative space – yes: I have a busy day!


Bazza's blog:  To Discover Ice 

Trade Mark Law - 10 Things You Should Know


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

50 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

trade marks have become so familiar we use them instead of the product name.
A bic tells us all we need to know. It is a long time since I have heard them called ball-point pens. There are others too, but my brain is fried.
Have a wonderful, productive busy time. And take care.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I agree with Elephant's Child - most people, in the UK at least, hoover instead of vacuum, and we drink champagne when it's not!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The first trade mark. Not many can claim that. I wonder what was the first one here?

Out on the prairie said...

Some of the many products we use are what they were trademarked as. I have seen the Bass triangle but none of the other products. I could offer you a klennex off my desk, but alas it is made by another company.Very few would ask for a facial tissue.

Gingi Freeman said...

This is fascinating! I actually knew SOME of this from my time at Ren. Faire when people recreating learning trades in guilds.. woohoo! Geeky childhood for the win! <3 - http:/www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Joanne said...

on Friday we might all need tubs of that Bass Ale

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's an old trade mark. I don't think I've ever had a Bass beer.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC – yes trade marks are ubiquitous aren’t they … I would struggle with ‘bic’ – we call them biro … and I’m out most of the day … then we’ll see …

@ Annalisa – yes we do hoover, instead of vacuum, and drink champagne or similar … I must say I had a decent bottle the other day and it was very good ... that other stuff is fine - but proper champagne is better!

@ Alex – your first trade mark (1870) was rejected by the courts nine years later! (1879) … see here: under the oldest trademark section: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark - looks like JP Tolman Company (1884) – now Samson Rope Technologies … won the race ...

@ Steve – I agree so many names and products are trade marked or copyrighted … but I agree I’d know what a Kleenex was … facial tissue – I’d be struggling to be precise …

@ Gingi – I guess if you’re actively involved in Renaissance Fairs, as you are … then you would learn something about those early guilds … well done!

@ Joanne – yes I’ll order in a few barrels and hope they can ship to the States within 24 hours now!!

@ Diane – it’s interesting it’s 130 years old … however I’m not sure I’ve had a Bass beer either .. perhaps I’d better try one sometime! ...

Cheers to you all – and enjoy or cry into your beers tomorrow – let’s be positive for our future – worldwide and local … Hilary

Rhodesia said...

Yet another fascinating post with lots of info. I will be switching off on Thursday!! Keep well Diane

Mark Noce said...

Fascinating:) Bass is definitely one of my favorite ales:)

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Totally cool. I never realized that triangle in that painting was a brand! Well, maybe if I grew up in the UK, I might have. Thanks for sharing. I love reading about the beginnings of trade marks in the UK.

Anabel Marsh said...

Interesting info about Bass and trade marks - I didn't know it was the first.

Janie Junebug said...

I find it interesting that the British use the hoover, while we use the vacuum cleaner. We use Kleenex (even if it's Puffs), although some people say tissue. How about you? So many brand names have become "the" name.

Love,
Janie

Munir said...

Milk City EC2 sounds like a fun city. I remember using Hoover too. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

Betsy Brock said...

I love old maker's marks! I'm more familiar with ones on antique dishes and old jewelry, though. Each one is different and some are quite fancy!

Liz A. said...

I hadn't really given this much thought. But yeah, it's a good way to brand something so consumers know what they're getting. And not getting a poor replica.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane - it's a complicated subject but essential for business. Have a quiet day ...

@ Mark - delighted you enjoy your Bass ... it always surprises me how international some items are ...

@ Holly - I know when Bazza mentioned it in my Marmite and Bovril post - I just hadn't realised ... then learning it was the first registered trade mark is just so interesting in the devleopment of art and the branding of a product.

@ Anabel - I hadn't realised any of this ... but amazing what blogging allows us to absorb!

@ Janie - we (the UK and USA) use different names for brands, as well as other things ... eg Aga, while you use Rangemaster I think ... In the UK we use a variety of names - I don't use them ... I have a box around the flat - but is not out ... loo (toilet) paper is available for nose blowing if necessary ... and I still use a handkerchief.

@ Munir - Milk Street is in the City of London, EC2 - the City's logo didn't show up too well ... yes Hoover (here) over your vacuum

@ Betsy's - I've noticed you enjoy showing us those from your antique days .. jewellery and china .. some are amazing aren't they - wish I could read them - another whole language

@ Liz - it became an essential part of law and then developed some ... ensuring the right good had the right trade mark ...

Cheers and thanks so much for your visit ... enjoy Inauguration Day and here's to our future - Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I don't drink beer, (or ale) but I could maybe use a whole lot of it today to get through what's going to be happening in two and a half hours. Will I watch it on TV? Probably. It's part of our reality, and as a history buff, I've gotta see it in action.

Chrys Fey said...

Interesting lesson on trade marks. I look things up all the time to find out if they are trade marks or not.

bazza said...

Thank for the link Hilary! I often get inspiration for a post via reading someone else's Blog. My current one is a case in point.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

diedre Knight said...

Fantastically interesting post, Hilary! Logos such as Apple, Ford, Caterpillar and Budweiser come to mind. Wish I could share the images, but I bet you already know of them. I worked for a company whose logo was patterned from the founder's Tareyton cigarette package (red double bars). He eventually gave up the habit, but not the logo ;-)

Nilanjana Bose said...

Informative and fun and fascinating - trade mark PL..IS :) So many brand names stand in for the products - Coke, Xerox, Bic. Interesting to reflect on how these vary across regions/nations.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - yes I think many of us needed strong coffee, or a drink yesterday ... history yes, but I just hope it's a considered presidency and remembers the unintended consequences of each of his actions.

@ Chrys - I can imagine you check things out ... copyright is so important in an author's life ...

@ Bazza - pleasure re the link. I didn't think of the place-name you mention ... though I'd come across 'the place' "Agloe", New York a few years ago ... and I'd certainly never considered maps would be incorrect, other than graphic type ones.

@ Diedre - we just accept logos as product names ... particularly the ones you've mentioned - though Apple has had it's challenges ... Beatles v Apple ... and yes I'm sure we know those logos you mention.

The Tareyton cigarette story is fascinating ... I'd never heard of that brand - not surprising really for a non-smoker.

@ Nila - glad you enjoyed it ... I don't understand your "trade mark PL..IS :)" bit ... something has passed me by! As you say Coke, Xerox ... we don't use bic as a norm in conversation ... but as you say interesting how they vary across countries ...

Cheers to you all - have good weekends after yesterday's razzamattaz ...I do hope common sense prevails - but have a peaceful time now - Hilary

Inger said...

This was so interesting for a beer lover like myself. I too watched yesterday, but had to press the mute button when our new president gave his speech. I figured it would be less disturbing to read about it later. Then we were in a snow storm, so after I (with tears in my eyes) watched the Obamas depart for a vacation here in California (I guess they didn't watch the weather reports), my TV reception went and the screen went blank. Mercifully, I'm sure.

DMS said...

What an interesting post. I had no idea that Bass had the first trade mark in the UK. Always so much to learn! I wonder what the first trademark was in the US? Something I may have to look up after I reach my writing deadline- since internet searches can lead to more searches and more searches until hours have passed. :)

Have a lovely weekend!
~Jess

Patsy said...

Trademarks have become so familiar we register them even when we don't realise we've seen them. I suppose that's part of the point of them.

mail4rosey said...

Bass was one of my husband's preferred choices for beer. Trademark information really can be interesting. The inauguration was unlike any I've ever seen, simply because of the reactions going on for both sides, before, during and after (and still).

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Inger - so good to see you again ... hope you carry on feeling easier with life. I'm sure the snow provided you with a much more interesting time than the inauguration - we are simply going to be overloaded with 140 characters ...

@ Jess - good to see you ... I've replied to Alex - re the US first trade mark and given a bit of history ... which was interesting ... I try and curtail my searches - usually managing quite successfully - but having garnered rather more blog ideas along the way than I need!

@ Patsy - we just use them don't we ... but the differences between the countries are fascinating to see ... it's keeping up with the copyright or trade mark is where the challenge can come in for those that own the brand.

@ Rosey - how incredible that your hubby was a Bass lover. Trademarks can be a quagmire ... but as you say are interesting ...

Yes - the reactions re the inauguration are going to be around for a long time to come ...

Thanks for visiting at this time of historical change - take care and cheers Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...


Until reading this, I'd never given a moment's thought to the origin of trade marks. Nowadays they are everywhere - most recently on TV where they are clearly displayed as 'product placement'. Another day, another lesson!

Ceil said...

Hi Hilary! How interesting that there is a difference between 'trade mark' and 'trademark'. As I live in the USA, I am used to that being one word. I have no idea who holds the oldest trademark here, that would be a fun thing to look up.

It's been an interesting few days here, that's for sure. There was a huge womens march in many cities here, marching to remind us all of women's rights and the rights of all, no matter who they are. My two sisters participated in their cities, and my cousin in another. It's going to be quite a ride...
Blessings,
Ceil

Karen Lange said...

This is interesting. I've never thought much about branding prior to the last ten years or so. Such a rich history, but without all the buzzwords we hear referenced to today. Glad you shared. Always take something away from your posts. Have a great week! :)

Bish Denham said...

What is equally cool/interesting is that Bass is still being made and that, obviously, it was being made BEFORE they apply for Trade Mark protection.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It's amusing to spot trademarked items placed in movies and on TV shows. It's also rather amazing that so long ago, craftsmen thought to mark their items. I guess it was the only way to advertise.

Christine Rains said...

I love reading about these bits of history. I had no idea trade marks went back that far. Have a lovely week! :)

Suzanne Furness said...

Certainly didn't know that about Bass being the first, very interesting. Our eldest daughter did her degree in Advertising so I remember proof reading a lot of essays on the subject. So many trademarks now. Interesting read as ever, Hilary.

Amanda said...

Interesting post, Hilary. Trademarks have really taken over, when we don't realise it's happening.

cleemckenzie said...

Now you've made me curious. I need to find out how far back branding actually goes. I wonder if there's a history of branding.

Haven't been around for a while--really sick, I'm afraid and just now starting to feel like I'm going to make it through to another week. I hate being sick, but then doesn't everyone?

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary! Fancy knowing the answer to the question: 'What was the first Trade Mark to be registered in the UK?’ Is it a ring in show? Did you win anything? Good to learn about Bass and other TMs.

Be well!

Denise x

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith – I certainly would not have thought Bass ale appeared in one of Manet’s paintings of the 1880s … and until someone points out a tv or film placement – as in the Bond movies … they mostly pass me by …

@ Ceil – it’s semantics I think … but like most things ‘translation’ can alter things … even translation from English to American English! I’ve put up your oldest trademark and a little history … in my answer to Alex.

We had women’s rights marches – for race equality, gender equality, LGBT rights, climate change, abortion rights, immigration and refugee causes … and more … such an important cause – so glad your family participated … and I highly support – though I didn’t go to London.

@ Karen – it’s an interesting subject and something I hadn’t thought much about either … but something pops up and I think that’d be interesting …

@ Bish – yes the Bass Brewery was started in 1777 – so it had been up and running one hundred years before trade marks came in. Craftsmen have been marking their products for millennia ... certainly the Romans did – Roman tiles, bricks etc .. .

@ Christine – it just adds superfluously to one’s knowledge ... the kind of thing I love reading about.

@ Suzanne – your daughter’s degree will bring back memories on advertising for you … fascinating I’d love to read some of her essays! Lots of trade marks around …

@ Amanda –it’s organisations making sure they have the rights to the name … the Beatles: Apple Corp v Apple Inc and similar – lots of controversy can arise … especially in other countries.

@ Lee – I hope you’re feeling better: yes being sick is horrible but there’s nothing one can do – except wait for one’s body to heal …

I commented a bit on the branding in my answer to Alex’s comment earlier … it’s a complicated subject!

@ Denise – I only knew because Bazza had brought it to my/our attention in my Marmite/Bovril post … I’d have never have known otherwise! University Challenge is a panel game on tv between universities … quite high brow and I can rarely answer any … the these are teenagers/early 20s answering these questions so deftly!

Cheers to you all and let’s hope we can have a peaceful and happy 2017 without too much controversy … take care - Hilary

Susan Scott said...

I'll check out your previous posts Hilary - have been 'off' the computer for a while, but I don't think I knew about trade mark & trademark ... I've never really thought about the origin of trade marks and them being patented - all I know really is that some of them become symbolic and speak a 1000 words ..

M Pax said...

Cool info on trade marks. I know they're able to date antiques by marks also.

We've survived here across the pond. There is hope.

Truedessa said...

Another interesting post. Trademarks have been around for a long time.

I hope you are having a good week so far!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - I know you've been having a break and enjoying life. I sort of knew some of the post ... but the Bass bottle and triangle in Manet's painting fascinated me. Yes pictures or symbols definitely tell a thousand words ...

@ Mary - lots of things have specific marks ... but the Bass beer appearing in Manet's painting just surprised me ... I'd never thought about it - product placement is everywhere now ...

I sure hope all the change we're going through helps us all ...

@ Truedessa - thank you ... trade marks and patents are a base of our regulatory law now-a-days..

Thanks for coming by - and appreciate your thoughts - cheers Hilary

Vallypee said...

Fascinating as always, Hilary! I'm sorry I'm late here as is usual these days, but I really do appreciate your wonderful posts and learn so much from them. Who would have thought something as mundane as beer would have had the first ever trade mark!

Crystal Collier said...

I would argue that family coats, or army colours were the first form of branding many, many centuries ago. You know, back in the time of city-states, I believe they each had their own flags too, so maybe it was even before then. We humans have always needed to label things, eh? It's just not until communication and globalization that it occurred more on a company level than national one.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

It's the reason we lost our Hockey anthem, they never bothered buying the trade mark. Here in Canada we generally write it as one word. It's become quite important in most capitalist countries. Great post, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Val - no worries, always good to see you though. I'm not sure everyone would say beer was mundane - but there we go ... the registering of the trade mark must have attracted attention at that stage especially for Manet to feature a bottle in his painting ... perhaps the Folies Bergere sold Bass Beer - interesting thought.

@ Crystal - your comment threw me ... but then I remembered we're talking registered trade marks ... not symbols, or ensigns etc ... but what you've said is so right. We need the labels and registrations, especially so that someone else won't steal our idea. It's for protection rights ... in each country in this day and age ... and across countries.

@ Joylene - interesting about the Hockey anthem ... I still can't quite grasp it ... but you've the added complication of the two languages - French and English ... though I see there was some controversy from the media organisations. Anthems for each country are important ...

Thanks for adding some extra ideas and snippets to this post - brought up other ideas for me too .. cheers Hilary



Lynn said...

I love learning new things - now I know the first item trademarked! Fascinating post, Hilary.

Deniz Bevan said...

I hadn't known that about Bass having the first trade marks! Hope I remember, if it ever comes up at a pub quiz :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynn - that's why I love blogging about odds and ends - makes it a learning experience for me too ... trade-marks have always fascinated me ...

@ Deniz - I wouldn't have picked it up - except I'd used Manet's picture last year ... and so when the question came up on University Challenge - I thought I know that one!

Strange old life ... but am sure pub quizzes will have that question - certainly English pub quizzes ...

Cheers to you both - I don't have a Bass to hand! Hilary