Surrey, B.C., backtracks on legal threat against dour t-shirt slogan

Surrey: The future dies here

The official slogan of Surrey, B.C., is “The future lives here.” It may be the city doesn't want to challenge the veracity of that statement.

The City of Surrey has decided to drop a suit against a local t-shirt maker who it claimed co-opted the slogan and changed it to, “The future dies here.”

The Province reports that B.C.'s second largest city had threatened legal action against Don Pitcairn, the marketing manager behind SurreyShirts.com, claiming his shirt design infringed on the City of Surrey’s logo.

“We require you to immediately cease and desist from this practise as you do not have permission to use the city’s logo in any promotional capacity,” city solicitor Philip Huynh said in an email, per the Province. “Failure to comply will result in the city seeking redress through the courts.”

The newspaper reported on Wednesday that the city now says it will not proceed with legal action.

The differences between the official logo and the t-shirt are minimal, but notable. The official design features a sleek building, which has been replaced by a handgun, and the city’s upbeat slogan was changed to its dour counterpart.

SurreyShirts.com specializes in Surrey-themed gear, but they are not all negative. A baseball jersey-style shirt simply has the city name across its chest, and another says "I [heart] Surrey girls."

A summary on the store's Facebook page reads:

[L]ove it or loathe it, whether you live here or not, Surrey Shirts has the apparel for you to make a bold statement about this rapidly evolving city.

But here is a fun twist of the affair. Pitcairn told the newspaper that Surrey had co-opted one of his own designs, the simple SRY CTY, and used it to promote a conservation initiative.

He said he would counter sue if the city came back with more complaints.

Meantime, the online store seemed to be experiencing sporadic crashes on Thursday, suggesting a possible uptick in traffic.

Those interested in getting their Surrey gear shouldn’t wait too long, though. After all, it is better to be safe than Surrey.

Sorry.