Friday, September 07, 2007
Four years ago, the Eye's esteemed architecture correspondent, Piloti, used the word "Portakabin" in one of his columns.
We promptly received a letter from one Dick Ellershaw, Trade Marks Officer for Portakabin ltd, upbraiding us for using the word "as a generic term" and suggesting the use of "portable building" or "relocatable building" instead. Our even more esteemed editor ran his letter beneath the headline "What a tragic way to make a living", and headed every other piece of correspondence in the issue "Portakabin".
Two weeks ago I was, as usual, writing up the Solutions column for the magazine. I got to "Kensite Services Ltd: the fullest range of Welfare Solutions" and tapped in next to it "portable toilets."
Then I thought fondly of Dick Ellershaw, deleted it and put in "Portaloos" instead.
And lo, like clockwork, this week a letter arrived at the office:
"Dear Mr Hislop,
I am writing to point out that 'Portaloo' is a registered Trade Mark which may only be used to describe buildings manufactured by this company..."