BeReal v Bereal: Trademark Battle Set to go to Tribunal

Published on
23/05/2023 02:59 PM

Batool Zaidi is involved in a naming rights dispute with a French social media app of the same name has slammed its "threatening" behaviour.

Zaidi registered the name of her clothing firm, BeReal, in the UK in November 2020, a year before its French counterpart.

Lawyers for the social media app threatened her with "urgent court action" if she continued to use the BeReal moniker.

The two BeReals will square off at a tribunal later this month, as the French corporation stated that it "sought an amicable resolution for all parties."


What is BeReal?
BeReal is a French social media app released in 2020, developed by Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau. Its main feature is a daily notification that encourages users to share a photo of themselves and their immediate surroundings given a randomly selected two-minute window every day.

With an estimated 20 million members, the social media app BeReal is a considerably bigger business in Paris.

The app has made efforts to establish itself globally after gaining popularity among teenagers and young adults as a result of the pandemic. Filters are not permitted for users of the app, which was registered in France in June 2021. The objective is for them to "show their friends who they truly are."

So, what is Batool Zaidi’s BeReal?
BeReal is a British high quality Women’s Activewear brand, who are offer nationwide as well as international shipping. Their Activewear is for everyone who wants to be unique and be real. Because they truly believe everyone is exceptional and unique in their own way and our clothing brand represents that.

Based in Old Street, East London, Ms Zaidi's business doesn't use models; her ethos is for women to embrace their true form. Her company, which employs just two people, runs pop-ups and also works with big global retailers.

However, BeReal, situated in Paris, applied for a trademark in the software and internet domains categories, as well as the clothes area. Ms Zaidi filed an opposition in June 2022, when the corporation tried to register the trademark in the UK.

A few months later, she received a "cease and desist" letter from a French lawyer.


Applying pressure:
It stated that her brand was infringing a trademark by shipping to Europe - a claim she rejects, as she says she only sends clothes to UK and US customers.

It claimed that her brand "originated" from the social networking app, resulting in "unfair misappropriation" of the brand throughout social media.

Ms Zaidi's company was ordered to cease manufacture, advertising, and marketing under the BeReal brand or face "urgent court action."

"I started this small online shop in lockdown to empower women's fashion, and they have just done everything they can to belittle and scare me," she explained.

"My womenswear has no impact on their brand whatsoever and we are not in competition. I don't know why they tried to register in the clothing category in the UK as well."

The social media app told the BBC that it had rights to the trademark in the UK based on common law.

So, what’s next?
The UK recognises common law rights regarding brands that have not been registered as trademarks, but which have become de facto trademarks as a result of their widespread use and recognition, a BBC intellectual property lawyer explained.

This means that if the social media brand BeReal could demonstrate that as a result of its extensive use in the UK, it had become recognised as a brand by the public - in relation to clothing in particular and before Ms Zaidi filed her application in November 2020 - it could be in a position to cancel her registration and prevent her use of the BeReal name.

Join 34,209 IT professionals who already have a head start

Network with the biggest names in IT and gain instant access to all of our exclusive content for free.

Get Started Now