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'House of Zana' WINS court battle against Zara after high street giant tried to order her to rename

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 07/08/2022 Charlotte Mclaughlin For Mailonline

A fashion boutique has won a court battle against retail giant Zara after being threatened with legal action over its branding.

Multi-billion pound fashion giant, Zara, which has stores across the globe, tried to order Amber Kotrri, who runs 'House of Zana', which specialises in handmade kimonos, to change its name. 

Zara was objecting to Mrs Kotrri's trademark application when it said her store's name was 'conceptually identical' to theirs and that the average customer will likely confuse their two brands. 

It also urged Mrs Kotrri to remove all branding - but determined to fight her corner and maintain her brand, she claimed it would cause 'irreparable damage' to her business and had no similarity to Zara's brand name. 

Mrs Kotrri, from Darlington, who received support from across the world for her fight against Zara, announced her good news today, saying: 'We did it!' 

Amber Kotrii (left) of House of Zana, has won her case against fashion giant Zara over the name of her boutique (pictured alongside business partner Erin Harper of Rejoy)

Amber Kotrii (left) of House of Zana, has won her case against fashion giant Zara over the name of her boutique (pictured alongside business partner Erin Harper of Rejoy)
© Provided by Daily Mail

In a post on social media, she said: 'We did it!!! Thank you to everyone for all your support.

'All the kind words of strength, those who signed our petition, shared the news and to all the news outlets who covered this story.

'You all gave me the courage needed to take on fashion giants Zara and I will be forever grateful for you all. WE WON!! With so much love from Amber xxx.'

In a letter sent to Mrs Kottri, Zara also said there is a risk 'consumers will misread, mishear, mispronounce and/or otherwise perceive House of Zana as ZARA' and that the brand name 'dilutes the distinctiveness and reputation of the ZARA brand'.

In a letter sent to Mrs Kottri, Zara also said there is a risk 'consumers will misread, mishear, mispronounce and/or otherwise perceive House of Zana as ZARA' and that the brand name 'dilutes the distinctiveness and reputation of the ZARA brand'. © Provided by Daily Mail In a letter sent to Mrs Kottri, Zara also said there is a risk 'consumers will misread, mishear, mispronounce and/or otherwise perceive House of Zana as ZARA' and that the brand name 'dilutes the distinctiveness and reputation of the ZARA brand'.

Before the case was heard she defended her small brand, saying: 'Our name is very meaningful and personal to us and poses no commercial threat to the multi-billion dollar apparel company ZARA, and their massive market.' 

Having initially launched her business online in 2018, House of Zana specialises in ethically sourced and sustainable, high-quality clothing.

The success of its concept store in Grange Road, Darlington, has seen it expand into Teesside Airport and reach a global audience online.

The former Art and Design student plays a pivotal role in the daily operation, from designing clothing to selecting fabrics.

Meanwhile, the word Zana means 'fairy' in Albanian - the country where the company was born and has a manufacturing studio.

Mrs Kotrri said in April: 'We don't believe anyone has or will confuse House of Zana with Zara. We're a small business that specialises in handmade kimonos.

'We have one small concept store in the North East of England and a website to help promote our products, whereas Zara is a globally renowned fashion brand with over 2,000 retail stores worldwide and a massive collection of products.

'There is no risk of confusing us with Zara, so why should a corporate giant be allowed to stop a small business from using a name that isn't at all similar to theirs and would result in the destruction of our brand?

'We know we are not a threat to them, but they could destroy everything we have worked so hard for.'

The success of House of Zana led to a concept store in Grange Road, Darlington, which has seen it expand into Teesside Airport and reach a global audience online © Provided by Daily Mail The success of House of Zana led to a concept store in Grange Road, Darlington, which has seen it expand into Teesside Airport and reach a global audience online

Mrs Kotrri also added before the ruling: 'We don't believe anyone has or will confuse House of Zana with Zara. We're a small business that specialises in handmade kimonos.

'We have one small concept store in the North East of England and a website to help promote our products, whereas Zara is a globally renowned fashion brand with over 2,000 retail stores worldwide and a massive collection of products.

'There is no risk of confusing us with Zara, so why should a corporate giant be allowed to stop a small business from using a name that isn't at all similar to theirs and would result in the destruction of our brand?

'We know we are not a threat to them, but they could destroy everything we have worked so hard for.'

She added: 'We have exerted all of our efforts into creating this unique brand, and having just struggled through the pandemic, the last thing we want to do is to be forced to change the brand, remove all labels that are sewn into our stock, change our social media names and shop front.

'This would cause irreparable damage to our small and loved business. We have spent years growing our dream and employing a wonderful team. We have never and still don't see any similarity in House of Zana's name or logo, to Zara's.

'I have built a full team and a life for myself and they can just take it away from me.

'It's the name I've built up and everyone knows us because of that - how can I just change that?'

Mrs Kotrri represented herself in court when a hearing was held  © Provided by Daily Mail Mrs Kotrri represented herself in court when a hearing was held 

In 2016, a Barnard Castle business, in County Durham, was forced to change its 'Zara Countrywear' name after being threatened by the same company. 

In April, Inditex, the owner of Zara, defended its decision to take on Mrs Kotrri. 

A spokesperson said then: 'We have opposed the 'House of Zana' trade mark application at this early stage because of its similarity to Zara's brand name.

'We wish the business every success and we continue to make efforts to reach the business directly so we can resolve the situation amicably.'

The MailOnline has contacted them about this recent announcement as well.  

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