Pity poor Peter Wood, Managing Director of B. Delamore Ltd. of Wisbech, and his 12-year-old son Charlie. You see, in their innocence they created a variety of petunia called ‘Charlie’s Angel’ which they took to market. Unfortunately, as their success began to take root, the full wrath of Columbia Pictures descended on this very English family. Columbia didn’t buy into the argument that the plants were being marketed in honour of the Wood’s son; they saw it simply as trademark infringement. This pretty, pink plant was apparently benefiting from the publicity of their hit film starring Diaz Barrymore and Liu.
The might of the studio is always going to win out when so much money is at stake. The legal ambulance-chasers, who scan globally for the slightest possible infringement, make big bucks looking for copyright cowboys. There are huge fees to be made from complex and costly cross-border litigation.
But is there a PR issue here? Well, it depends on whether your average market gardener in Cambridgeshire can afford to pay for a mischievous publicist to be a thorn in the side of a studio boss. There is a huge PR opportunity in facing up to the men with dark glasses and bad suits. Okay, it’s not cheap but it is gloriously satisfying when the call of battle arrives.