If you have been watching your lift® since we first announced to the world that we were starting a new private hire company in Telford you will know that it's now been quite some time since that first announcement. Over a year now and that's a longer period of time than we planned on. For us it's even longer still as we had already been putting things in place for quite some time before we made the first announcement.
We want to tell you what's been going on so that you can see just why things have taken longer than expected and also to show everyone that we are just as committed now if not even more so to providing the people of Shropshire with a new and better private hire option.
Initially we hit a few delays with things that often do end up delaying things, things like getting all the licenses to operate in place, insurance etc. We also had delays getting the right technology in place as from day one we had a very strict criteria in place to ensure we would be utilising the best technology to help us provide everyone with the best service. These delays meant that rather than launching towards the end of 2018 as originally planned we were now looking at a first quarter of 2019 launch.
We were on track for this launch when the your lift team were hit with some devastating news. There are 2 main people who came up with the idea for your lift and who were the ones driving the company from initial conception through to running. One of these people was diagnosed in February of this year with Multiple Myeloma - a type of blood cancer that is unfortunately a terminal condition. There is treatment to try to extend how long someone with it will live and to try to improve the quality of life but no cure. Initial treatment involved a lot of time in hospital plus then there were a lot of adjustments in life for not only the sufferer but also everyone close to him which includes the your lift team and so things were of course put on hold until there was some sort of normality again.
We revised our launch to be looking at a late May/Early June date and were working towards this. Treatment would still be ongoing for our colleague and he would never be able to do the 24 hours. day 7 days a week he had been doing previously to get your lift running but this was something that like all of us he was passionate about and wanted to see working. Then on the 22nd of May we received a letter from a solicitor who specialises in trademark disputes based in London representing an American company who we had quite honestly never heard of before called Lyft. We will publish the letter so you can all see for yourselves exactly what was said and what we have been accused of but the summary of it is they were basically saying that we had deliberately copied their clients brand (Lyft apparently is a Uber style taxi company who currently only operate in America and Canada). They have a European trademark for the term "Lyft" but not a UK one. We ourselves have a valid UK trademark for the term "your lift" in the UK. We went through all the correct legal processes to obtain our trademark. This letter from the solicitor who are Taylor Wessing by the way, also went as far as to say that we had deliberately copied there brand and that our branding was "IDENTICAL" to their clients. You can see the 2 brands side by side in another post here and on our social media accounts so you can make up your own mind whether they are indeed "IDENTICAL" but we quite honestly find it ludicrous that anyone would think they are identical and completely refute their claim that we set out to copy their brand. Our brand is nothing like theirs and further more we couldn't possible have copied them as we had no knowledge of them and also why would we want to copy a company that isn't actually operating in this country? What would we possible gain from copying a brand that no one in our trading area as any knowledge of? Anyway for the last few months we have been trying to resolve this situation and held back our launch while dealing with Taylor Wessing. The latest communication with them is basically saying they will be taking us to the high court to try and get our trademark taken off us and so we have said we will fight this in court and that we are not delaying our business any longer and are going to push ahead with our launch. For anyone who wants the full story of this latest battle we will be posting all the communications we have received from Taylor Wessing acting for Lyft on this blog and our social media accounts.
So that's some background as to why things have taken so long so far. This isn't a post to try and get some sympathy - but we feel you need to know what's been going on so that you know why things have taken this long. There are always issues and delays with any new start-up business but I'm sure you will agree these are some pretty unique and unexpected issues.
What we can now say to you is that all we have gone through has made us even more committed than ever to launching your lift®. Some people might think that it's just a brand and why not just change the brand so that we don't have to fight this issue - well firstly we know we have done nothing wrong and that we have done everything legally required of us to ensure we are doing things right. But also because of the situation regarding one of the cancer situation for one half of the original team he has no way of knowing if by the time we were to build a new brand and get the same level of interest in it as your lift currently has that he will still be healthy enough to enjoy seeing it prosper or if he would even still be here to see it. We have always said to you that we conceived your lift® to as a Great British company to utilise the best mix of technology and customer service to provide people with a better option for travel. We know from all the feedback you have given us that you all still want that and that actually the good people of Shropshire want it even more than we originally anticipated. So that's what we are going to give you. We are now putting the final few steps in place to launch, recruiting drivers, finalising the technology etc. If you have driven down Haybridge Road in Hadley recently you will have seen the sign on our main office opposite what used to be The Crosskeys pub. Thats our HQ and where we manage the business from and where we have our operators license to operate from. Keep watching our social media accounts and this blog for updates on our progress as we will now be regularly posting just where we are at. We will also confirm our official launch date to you all very soon.
We hope that we have your support and look forward to providing your lift very soon!
The your lift® team.
Here is the first letter we received from Taylor Wessing acting on behalf of Lyft.
There have been more letters since that we will publish shortly.