A LONG-STANDING Oxfordshire hair salon chain has been forced to change its name, after becoming embroiled in a five-year battle with a top American company of the same name.

Director of the former Philosophy Hairdressing, Mark Creed, has now spent more than £30,000 rebranding his hair salons in Oxford, Witney and Abingdon, Idlewild after being threatened with legal action.

And this does not include the thousands he forked out in legal fees trying to fight the case.

After realising the situation was becoming increasingly costly, the experienced hair colourist admitted defeat and renamed his salons.

Mr Creed, 47, said: “We started 13 years ago as Philosophy Limited and everything was hunky dory.

“But then we got a letter five years ago saying if you don’t change your name you will be sued. It was an American beauty company that had the same name.

“We employed lawyers at £2,000 per hour.

“We locked horns with this company. And we had a very good chance of winning the case if it had gone to court.

“But if we had won, costs would have been £100,000, and if we had lost it would have been up to £1m.

“It’s been a five-year long fight, but we are gradually changing our name.

“It’s onwards and upwards. We have really embraced it now.”

When the salon opened in Witney 13 years ago, Mr Creed said he had no idea he needed to register his business as an intellectual property to protect its name.

And the American company was able to argue that the name was legally theirs.

Mr Creed said it would not have mattered if he had stayed local. But his company and name have been featured multiple times in leading fashion magazines such as Vogue, which raised the profile of Philosophy.

Mr Creed, who lives in Cumnor Hill with his wife Karen, added: “But now something good has come out of something bad.

“There are so many things we hadn’t done during the past five years, because we knew we would have to change our name.

“So now we’ve changed everything – from new gowns, to mugs, to coffee cups.

“I’m even going to do seminars in Thailand and we’re starting our own product range.

“Obviously it’s disappointing to work so hard. locally, nationally and internationally and to be recognised, and then for all that to change – it’s a daunting prospect.”

Mr Creed plans to expand even more in the future.

He is now urging other local company owners to register their business trading name as intellectual property.