Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has confirmed that the region’s airport will revert back to the name of Teesside International this summer after a marketing specialist abandoned demands for £250,000 for the intellectual property rights of the name.
Chris Joseph had asked Tees Valley Combined Authority to pay the sum for the rights to the name of Teesside Airport that he bought up in 2015, but the Teesside businessman has revealed he is relinquishing ownership of the name on the back of “personal attacks” and for the good of his own mental health.
Mr Joseph had mounted a threat of official opposition to the TVCA buying up the name “Teesside International”, with Mr Houchen accusing him of “holding Teessiders to ransom” after the combined authority was asked to cough up the six-figure sum for the intellectual rights.
However, with Mr Joseph revealing he will no longer pursue his cause, the mayor said: “I would like to thank Mr Joseph for relinquishing his rights to Teesside Airport. After a long and deeply unnecessary episode, I’m pleased he’s seen the light.
“I’ve always been confident we were on the right side – not just legally, but on the right side of fairness and decency too.
“No one man should be able to profit from a name that should belong to the people. Any criticism Mr Joseph has faced, however regrettable, is of his own making. The people of Teesside could see what he was doing and they didn’t like it.
“Given today’s welcome news, I’m delighted to confirm that our publicly-owned airport will revert back to Teesside International this summer.
“Now we need to put this issue to bed and focus all our efforts into making our airport the success we know it can be.”
Mr Joseph said: “Despite the fact that, as an advertising agency, we deal in intellectual properties that are worth significant sums, I feel that it is in the best interests of the people of Teesside and the prospect of a new dawn for our airport and our area that we relinquish the Teesside Airport intellectual property suit with immediate effect.
“I sincerely hope that Teesside Airport is a success and that the Teesside name we believed in for years and advocated in 2015, long before Mr Houchen came on the scene, now becomes the significant marketing and advertising factor we always knew it to be.”
He added: “The tirade of online abuse triggered by the mayor’s statement has put my mental health at serious risk.
“Medical advice from a specialist trauma psychologist has left me with no option but to relinquish the suit of trade marks, companies and domain names which I have held since 2015.
“I have been advised to prioritise my well-being and withdraw from this situation.”
The airport is being run in a 75/25 split with operator Stobart Aviation with the aim of increasing annual passenger use to 1.4m over the next decade.