Royal British Legion in dispute over 'Poppy Truck'

The charity believes the use of the word poppy in this context might be confusing for donors

The Royal British Legion has become embroiled in a trademark battle with a lorry driver who decorated her truck with poppies and imagery from the two world wars to raise money for the charity.

Christine Langham, owner of CB Haulage, tours the country with her 44-ton poppy-covered articulated lorry to raise money for armed-forces charities including the Royal British Legion, and trademarked the names "Poppy Truck" and "Team Poppy" in February.

The legion has called on her to surrender the trademarks, warning that it could lead to confusion for potential donors, but Langham has refused.

In a statement on her company’s website, she said: "The Poppy Truck is now locked in a legal battle over the trademark with the Royal British Legion, whom I have supported over the last year with the truck at no expense to them.

"It seems that the RBL don’t like my trademark Team Poppy and the Poppy Truck despite it being widely known across the UK and worldwide as that."

She said she did not believe the public were confused by the name, saying she believed "the public see it as the Poppy Truck and nothing to do with the RBL".

A petition started by one of the truck’s supporters and signed by more than 8,000 people accuses the legion of "bully-boy tactics" in an attempt to force Langham to give up the trademark.

A spokesman for the legion was unable to confirm whether the charity had threatened Langham with legal action or whether it had begun legal proceedings against her.

He said the charity was grateful to Langham for the support she had given to the charity and the armed-forces community.

"The poppy is a national symbol of remembrance, but the word poppy is also a registered trade mark owned by the Royal British Legion and we do have a responsibility to make sure that it’s protected so that people can be confident their donations are going directly to a registered charity," he said.

"In the unlikely event that individuals and organisations outside our remit use the word poppy for fundraising purposes, this could lead to confusion in the eyes of the public."

He said the legion hoped that an amicable resolution could be reached. 

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