Comedian Joe Lycett has legally changed his name to Hugo Boss, in a protest against the German fashion company.
The company, who often style themselves as “Boss”, have been sending cease-and-desist letters to small businesses and charities who are also using the word “boss”, or similar, in their names.
“It’s clear that Hugo Boss hates people using their name,” Lycett wrote on Twitter.
The BBC has asked Hugo Boss, the company, for a comment.
“Unfortunately for them this week I legally changed my name by deed poll and I am now officially known as Hugo Boss,” Lycett added, alongside photographic evidence of his name change.
The comic, who has appeared on the BBC’s Live at the Apollo, posted that the fashion house has cost small businesses “thousands in legal fees and rebranding”.
One of the most high-profile cases of recent years involved Swansea brewery company Boss Brewing.
At the time, a Hugo Boss spokesman said: “Following the brewery’s application to register a trade mark, we approached them regarding the use of Boss in relation to two beer names in the portfolio.
“This was to avoid conflict and potential misunderstanding regarding the brands Boss and Boss Black, which had been used by the brewery but are (longstanding) trademarks of our company.
“The discussions clarified the situation in respect of these two brands as well as in relation to textile merchandising for the future. The brewery is able to proceed with the majority of their products without impact on their current branding.”
According to the i newspaper in 2018, a charity called DarkGirlBoss also received a legal letter from Hugo Boss when it tried to trademark the name.
On Monday morning, the artist formerly known as Joe Lycett told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire: “I would like them to stop doing this, because no-one is confusing these two things.
“Also I’d really like them to give them their money back really and promise to stop – and an apology,” he added.
Lycett, who is 31 and from Birmingham, claimed he’ll be “launching a brand new product as Hugo Boss” on his Channel 4 consumer rights show, Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back.
Last year on the show he impersonated an RBS boss in order to help a scammed customer get their £8,000 back.
Fellow comedian David Baddiel jokingly applauded his “extraordinary and brilliant commitment”, this time around, while another stand-up, Rhys James, was quick to suggest taking Lycett’s old name.
Lycett’s name has also now been changed to Hugo Boss on his Wikipedia page.
Kate Swaine, intellectual property partner at Gowling WLG, said: “Joe Lycett’s actions shine a light on the potential negative PR implications when undertaking a brand enforcement program.
“Even where a brand is legitimately enforced, brandowners must be alive to where issues may arise in relation to smaller businesses or individual use.”
Anyone over the age of 16 in the UK can legally change their name, for a fee of around £15.
German label Hugo Boss was founded in 1924 in Metzingen, Germany, and famously supplied uniforms for the Nazi party.
In 2011, the firm apologised for its maltreatment of forced workers during World War II.