A FASHION giant has responded after launching legal action against a Darlington boutique over its “identical” branding, which its owner says could “destroy” her business.

Global chain ZARA is urging Amber Kotrri’s House of Zana store to rebrand due to its apparent similarity with its own identity.

Mrs Kotrri had applied to trademark the ‘House of Zana’ branding but met opposition from ZARA, who claim it is “conceptually identical” to theirs and that the average customer will likely confuse the brand with that of ZARA.

In a letter sent to Mrs Kottri, which has been seen by The Echo, Zara says 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 the ZARA brand".

But Mrs Kottri said she will continue to fight her company’s corner to maintain her branding. "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,” she added.

The Northern Echo: House of Zana, Darlington. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTHouse of Zana, Darlington. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Read more: Zara threatens Darlington's House of Zana with action over branding

In an explanation over the legal action Inditex, the parent company which owns ZARA, responded on Tuesday morning. It said: “We have opposed the ‘House of Zana’ trademark 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.”

However, Mrs Kotrri disputes this claim and alleges the only time she has been contacted by the company or its representatives was in the legal notice sent to her in April last year.

She said: “The only correspondence I’ve ever had is from their lawyers and it was that first letter [the legal notice], which I wouldn’t say was very friendly as it was telling me to sign and close the business.

“It’s always been through their lawyers about the fight for the trademark.”

Read more: Why threatening a Darlington firm with legal action might not be a popular decision

The Northern Echo: Amber Kotrii of House of Zana, left, Erin Harper of Rejoy , who opened a joint-venture shop in the airport terminal. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTAmber Kotrii of House of Zana, left, Erin Harper of Rejoy , who opened a joint-venture shop in the airport terminal. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Mrs Kotrri and her House of Zana brand have received global support since her fight with ZARA was published, with local businesses sharing their own similar stories of legal battles with major retailers.

Hundreds of people on social media have announced a boycott of ZARA, while pledging to instead purchase from House of Zana. A petition by Mrs Kotrri has been signed more than 3,000 times.

North East-based retail expert Graham Soult said: “If Zara is objecting to an independent business called "House of Zana", where does it end? H&M trying to close down B&M because part of the name is the same?”

The petition can be signed here.

House of Zana’s website can be accessed here.

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