In a recent turn of events, fashion behemoth Hugo Boss has amicably resolved their dispute with Liverpool artist John Charles concerning the use of the term “boss” in connection with clothing merchandise. These items were slated for sale as part of online art lessons Mr Charles launched during the initial lockdown period last year. With each lesson concluding with the phrase “Be boss, be kind,” both parties have reached a mutually satisfactory agreement, honouring each side’s interests according to Hugo Boss’ confirmation.
The artist’s successful sign-off, “boss”—a Liverpool slang term meaning “great”—sparked demand for merchandise featuring this motto and subsequently caught the attention of the German fashion brand Hugo Boss.
Elated by the opportunity to continue offering free online art classes and release associated merchandise, Mr Charles described his feelings as “just boss.” With his wife, Jen, Mr Charles held an initial Skype meeting before further negotiations were undertaken by a company offering pro bono legal advice.
Expressing immense gratitude for the tremendous public support he received, Mr Charles praised Hugo Boss for their friendliness and accommodation throughout the discussions. His free online classes, co-created with his ten-year-old daughter, garnered 27,000 participants. Even Hugo Boss representatives reportedly enjoyed the sessions, with one agreeing to have her child join an upcoming live art class.
David sought to impart a positive message through his project, ultimately selecting “Be boss, be kind” as his slogan. Participants from around the globe—including Australia, Italy, and Mexico—joined the initiative. As requests for merchandise featuring David’s motto, “Be Boss, Be Kind”, poured in, he used the proceeds to establish a trust fund for his daughter.
However, in July, Mr Charles received a letter from lawyers representing Hugo Boss responding to his application to trademark the phrase “Be Boss, Be Kind.” This unexpected development raised potential legal concerns surrounding intellectual property rights and two different parties using such trademarks.