An Eden woman found herself in the sights of lawyers acting on behalf of a major Cornish visitor attraction over the name of her small gardening business.
Susan Davies, 57, of Penrith, set up her Gardens of Eden venture six months ago after doing a horticulture course with NR Training at Lowther Castle.
But before shelling out on a branded van, Susan thought it would be prudent to first get her business name trademarked — that was when a letter dropped through her door from The Eden Project’s legal team.
Susan, who had previously worked in the pathology department at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, said: “I live in Eden, I don’t clash with their business.
“The name is not similar and they don’t offer gardening services — so there is no real risk of a member of the public thinking that I am from The Eden Project and buying my services on the back of that.
The Eden Project, in Cornwall, is a global garden housed in tropical biomes which nestle in a crater the size of 30 football pitches, while Susan works part-time offering gardening services at residential properties which include weeding, pruning, planting and generally keeping her clients’ gardens tidy.
“I live and work in the Eden Valley in Cumbria and so thought Gardens of Eden was a very fitting name for my business,” said Susan.
It was initially agreed that The Eden Trust, owners of the extending botanical gardens empire, would not commence opposition proceedings against Susan’s application if she only uses the Gardens of Eden trademark for her gardening services in Cumbria. But the document which was produced for her to sign went far beyond what Susan was expecting. On the phone, she asked for confirmation of her interpretation of the document.
“Am I right in believing that if I sign this, I will not be able to use the word Eden for anything else, now or in the future, and the reply was ‘yes, that’s right’.
“And that is where I said, look, no, I’m sorry, that is not on,” said Susan.
She said it looks like they want to monopolise its use and before you know it, “nobody will be allowed to use the word Eden”.
“They think they own the word Eden. They want to make it so that Eden means their company and doesn’t mean anything else.”
However, The Eden Project has now withdrawn its challenge and wished Susan well with her business.