Small local business fights corporations to keep its name

A local man finds himself in a fight with big corporations over the name "Nature Bay."

A small, local business is fighting two giant corporations to keep its name.

Justin Lewis, a science teacher in Lakeland, founded the company NatureBay.

“We haven't really made anything from it yet,” he explained.

Lewis has poured his savings into the company and said most of the extra money he makes goes into it as well.

He wants NatureBay.com to be a site where local, environmentally friendly businesses can sell their goods. It was smooth sailing, until he applied for trademark for the name NatureBay. He got emails from HM Publishers Holdings Limited and eBay.

“Basically, (it's) boy David who hasn't even learned to pick up a sling yet versus two Goliaths,” he said.

HM Publishers Holdings Limited's email said it has rights to the word "Nature" for publications. eBay's pointed out “NatureBay” has its company's name right in it. It also listed other companies its successfully gone after, including PerfumeBay, TradeBay, RealBay and TrailerBay.

It might be hard to believe, but attorney Stephen Aycock said both companies have a point, because of the similarity in words, the type of business they do and the brand they've built.

“If you take that all into account, then you can see where these broad words actually have a pretty specific meaning in the minds of consumers,” Aycock explained.

He said if you're applying for a trademark, your best bet is to make up a word.

Lewis said he wants to fight both companies, but he's keeping his options open. He's talked to lawyers who've told him he has a shot.

“I believe miracles happen,” he said.

10News reached out to eBay and HM Publishers Holdings Limited, but hasn't heard back.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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