Fashion giant Dior has created a stink with a Kiwi businessman by trying to ban him from using his name.
Sirous Dior, from central Auckland, registered his company Dior Fine Art in New Zealand last year.
The 34-year-old photographer was stunned to receive a "heavy breathing" letter two weeks ago from the Australian lawyers for Parfums Christian Dior ordering him to stop using his name for his business.
"At first I thought it was a joke," Dior told the Herald on Sunday. "Now I am having to spend thousands of dollars I can't afford on legal advice to prove I can use my own name. It is crazy."
Melbourne-based law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth wrote to the Aucklander saying its client was "very concerned" about his use of, and his company's applications "to register trademarks containing the name Dior". They insisted Dior and Christian Dior Couture were registered owners of numerous New Zealand trademarks for, or including, the name Dior.
The fashion house opened a flagship store in Auckland's Queen St in December.
The Kiwi Dior was asked to withdraw his applications to the Intellectual Property office of New Zealand within 14 days or Parfums Dior "may have no choice" but to pursue its opposition of the Sirous Dior and Dior Fine Art trademarks ... and "commence legal proceedings".
The photographer has lived in New Zealand since 1989 when his family moved here from Tehran. He officially changed from his mother's surname, Badiei, to his father's surname, Dior, 15 years ago.
"A copy of my New Zealand passport sent to the lawyers did not seem to be enough proof it is my real name," he said. "They are being disrespectful and insulting as well as behaving like bullies."
New Zealand-based trademark agent Murray Stott registered the name for Sirous Dior last year and was engaging lawyers to defend claims made by the perfume giant.
"Dior has acted oppressively by sending this heavy breathing letter to my client," Stott said. "Mr Dior was very compliant and even offered to put his first name in front of the name he uses for his business as a compromise but that was ignored."
A spokesman for the Intellectual Property Office confirmed it had examined and accepted Sirous Dior's trademark but could not say anything further.
A spokeswoman for Corrs Chambers Westgarth said the firm would not comment as it was a "live matter".