January 21, 2018

Far be it from Bankstone News to interpose itself betwixt a start-up InsurTech operation and the wrath of global broking behemoth Marsh & McLennan Companies, but reports that minnow insurance provider Marshmallow faces the threat of copyright-enforcing legal action from the mighty Marsh could not but catch our eye this week.

Granted, the respective names of the two organisations share five consecutive letters, but is there really any meaningful sense in which Marshmallow is in any way inspired by, derived from, or likely to gain commercial advantage from this nomenclatural overlap?

This is a marshmallow (an item of confectionary).

This is a marsh (a type of terrain).

The two are somewhat dissimilar, you’ll probably agree.

But wait, the Marsh in Marsh Mclennan does not refer directly to marshes of the wetlands kind. It derives from a common English surname (originally applied to persons living on or near a tract of boggy land).

Here is a Marsh.

Here is another (partially disguised as a giraffe).

And here is a third.

Positing an emulative connection between a company named after an edible cylinder of sugar, water, gelatine and corn starch and another named after the third of our human Marshes (its joint founder Henry W. Marsh, to be specific), seems fanciful, to say the least.

Indeed, Mallow Insurance Brokers of Mallow, County Cork, Ireland might have an equal right to challenge the UK start-up if we go down this route.

Besides which, if Marshmallow were trying to piggyback on the brand equity of Marsh, they would have branded blue like Marsh, not a slightly pastel red.

Besides which in turn, Marsh may be a big name on the global insurance stage, but has the average personal-lines insurance consumer ever heard of it?

Bankstone News suspects not.

So, seriously, Messers Marsh, grow a sense of proportion, get over your big bad selves and cut these chaps some slack!

Having said all which, we only have the word of Marshmallow founders Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham that this emotive David v Goliath copyright wrangle even exists.

Maybe it’s all just a canny publicity stunt.

In which case, ironically, maybe Marsh’s legal guys would have a leg to stand on.


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