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Pru blocks Gervais' film name

British comic Ricky Gervais has had to change the title of his film, The Men at the Pru, over a trademark conflict with insurance giant Prudential.

By Gareth Shaw | Published Apr 21, 2009 | comments

The film, set in the 1970s, revolves around the lives of three 20-something men who work for the Prudential as door to door insurance salesmen in the days of industrial branch life assurance.

The Pru and other big offices became widely known for the weekly door to door visits of the insurance reps, to collect premiums for funeral costs and savings plans.

The term 'the man from the Pru' became synonymous with the business.

Gervais, creator and star of The Office and Extras, has now changed the name of the movie to Cemetery Junction, the part of Reading, Berkshire, where Prudential's head office is based.

This is not the first time that the insurer has been mentioned in film. A thriller called The Man from the Pru, starring BAFTA award-winning actor Jonathan Pryce, was made by the BBC in 1990.

However, Prudential recently registered Class 09 and Class 41 trademarks, which cover broadcast for motion picture films and provision of entertainment, for the terms "Pru", "Prudential", and "Man from the Pru", on 6 February, effectively blocking their use from the movie.

A Prudential spokesman stated that its brand and reputation were very important to it and its customers.

Cemetery Junction, the first film cowritten by Gervais and Stephen Merchant, starts filming in June 2009, and will star Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones.

gareth.shaw@ft.com

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