Global beauty brand L’Oréal have threatened to sue a small Scots soap business – claiming they own the word “naked”.
The French cosmetics giants have instructed London law firm Baker McKenzie to try to stop The Naked Soap Company using the word “naked” in their business name.
It is understood L’Oréal trademarked the word in 1995.
However, The Naked Soap Company owner Garylee Rushforth said he will not bow down to “big company bullying” tactics.
Garylee, 28, who launched the firm in Dalgety Bay, Fife, in February, said: “It seems absurd that a big global company can stop the growth of a small business like us.
“They are opposing the use of the word ‘naked’ but I don’t understand how they can trademark the word.
“We are a small business trying to create jobs in an area when there is little work.
“If we lose, we’ll be forced to change our name and will be lumbered with all their costs. It would cripple us. It’s just big company bullying.”
L’Oréal are the world’s largest cosmetics company and their subsidiaries include Lancôme, The Body Shop and Urban Decay. Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez and Julianne Moore are brand ambassadors.
The Naked Soap Company, who employ 20 people, create handmade soap slices, bath bombs and candles. They use the word “naked” as their merchandise is made using only natural products.
Garylee added: “No global corporation should hold the power over a small firm due to a single word – a word that determines and personalises a business.
“We are no threat to them. We’re not copying their products and have our own style and personality.”
When contacted by the Record, L’Oréal said they had “no comment at this time”.