A BORDERS tree surgeon has been forced to change his firm’s name following threats of legal action from a multi-national company.

Almost five years ago, Nathan Mill founded STIHL GAME, a play on words combining the popular Scottish TV programme and the German chain saw manufactures.

After building up his business and reputation, Mr Mill was contacted by the lawyers acting on behalf of Andreas Stihl demanding a name change. He agreed to this and came up with a number of options including stHil game using a different colour and font, but these were also deemed unacceptable.

And earlier this year the lawyers also demanded he relinquished the website domain stihlgame.co.uk. Initially he was reluctant as the site contained his many five-star reviews which would be lost but he was eventually forced to do so.

What made it even more galling for the Borderer was that he buys a lot of his equipment from Andreas Stihl and even though he has been forced to rebrand at considerable cost they have refused any compensation.

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Mr Mill said: “My business was established in April 2017 under the name STIHL GAME.  I’m sure we can all appreciate I was not and never will be a threat to Andreas Stihl.

“In September 2020 I was contacted by lawyers acting on behalf of Andreas Stihl demanding a name change.  It was changed to ‘stHil game’ with a different font and colour. Understandably that wasn’t good enough.  I have tried spelling it differently on several occasions.

“Recently the lawyers contacted me demanding the website domain ‘stihlgame.co.uk’. They said that if it wasn’t handed over with the undertakings signed within three days, they would take me to court. A global multi-million-pound business versus a small Borders business in court? The outcome was inevitable.

“We are a reputable tree surgery company in the Scottish Borders, and we will have the costs to replace sign writing, business cards and websites. Not to mention we spend thousands each year on ‘STIHL’ equipment.

“If a customer doesn’t have our number and wants to get in touch, the name ‘STIHL GAME’ will not come up on Google or Facebook. Everyone knows us for our old name and quality of work.”

A spokesperson for Andreas Stihl said: “STIHL takes trademark infringement extremely seriously and will always follow legal advice, taking action to protect itself if necessary.”

The St Boswell-based company is now known as AlbaArb Tree Management. The new website is www.al baarb.co.uk. On Facebook it is AlbaArb.

Anyone with Arboricultural enquires should contact Mr Mill on 07497 094638