Conservation charity accused of bullying small business


Threat made over alleged copyright infringement  

7th August 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland’s National Trust has been accused of bullying after it forced a small business to stop using the name Glencoe.  

The leading conservation charity sent a threatening lawyer’s letter to Hilltrek Outdoor Clothing demanding it stop selling its £365 Glencoe waterproof jacket or face legal action.

The trust has stewardship over the vast Glencoe countryside and in 2015 trademarked the name.

At the time concern was raised by community leaders in the area but the charity said it would not damage local businesses. However, Hilltrek is based in Aboyne in Aberdeenshire.

Dave Shand, owner of Hilltrek, said he had been making the jackets for 30 years.

He said: “I was really angry, I just couldn't believe it. I was stunned by it. They obviously think that Aboyne and Deeside is too far away to have a geographical connection, but I've been hill-walking in Glencoe since my late teens.

“We don't produce huge numbers and our product is a premium product…Personally I hate bullies, so they've picked the wrong person. I'm determined to fight it."

The letter demanded the business “immediately stop selling any goods which include the name GLENCOE from your website” and refrain from using it in future. Failure to comply by August 11 could result in legal action, it warned.

However since the story broke on social media, the National Trust for Scotland has reconsidered its original position.

A spokesman said: “In retrospect, although the letter sent to Hilltreck was a standard one, it may have been in the circumstances of this particular company too harsh in tone. Our only desire is to protect the properties in our care and stop them being exploited.

"Our letter to Hilltreck was intended to open up negotiation to establish if the company had legal prior trading rights and clearly the wording and tone did not convey this. We would be happy to enter into a dialogue with them with the aim of finding a mutually-agreeable solution."