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Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 00:26 GMT
West Ham 'hammer' knocked on the head
West Ham star Paulo Di Canio
West Ham had hoped to sell the hammers at matches
Children's television presenter Timmy Mallett has prevented West Ham Football Club from selling foam toys inspired by the club's nickname - "The Hammers".

The club wanted to produce versions of its mascot - "Herbie the Hammer" - for supporters to wave while cheering on their team.


It is important when you have something that is part of your life and livelihood, that you look after it

Timmy Mallett

But Timmy Mallett - who achieved fame by replacing Roland Rat on TV-am - said Herbie the Hammer was too similar to his own copyrighted soft toy, "Pinky Punky".

Mr Mallett, currently preparing for Panto, said the idea was a vital part of his act.

He said: "Pinky Punky is a groovy hammer and that is part of my name.

"He is my trademark and he is what I do.

"It is important when you have something that is part of your life and livelihood, that you look after it."

Disgruntled fans

Pinky Punky is the caricature of the oversized hammer used by Mallett to clobber children over the head for incorrect quiz answers on Wacaday, a hit for TV-am between 1985 and 1992.

Mr Mallett added, however, that Pinky Punky would in future wear a West Ham scarf in an effort to appease disgruntled fans.

Celebrities are becoming more and more conscious of their branding with many now prepared to threaten legal action to protect their name.

Victoria Beckham has even objected to Peterborough United using its nickname - "Posh".

Stewart Cross, lecturer in intellectual copyright at Dundee University, said it was a growing trend.

He said: "People are much more aware that their goodwill is valuable and should be protected.

"I think there are fairly clear signs that people are more likely to take action to protect their goodwill than in the past."

A spokesman for West Ham said it was a "trivial matter" but confirmed the hammers had been removed from sale.

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