In our previous blog, we reported that the High Court had held that Cheshire based car company Bentley Motors had infringed the trademark rights of Manchester-based clothing company Bentley Clothing.
Following the High Court decision, Bentley Motors appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal’s decision was recently published and Bentley Motors has lost its appeal. In rejecting the appeal, the Court of Appeal held that there was “no basis for interfering” with the decision made by His Honour Judge Hacon in the High Court. In particular, the Court of Appeal noted that both Bentley Motors and Bentley Clothing had sold clothes for many years but that Bentley Motors’ attempts to try and revoke Bentley Clothing’s trademarks and to develop a clothing line in direct competition with Bentley Clothing using an identical brand name would lead to members of the public being confused that the two brands were in some way associated with each other.
The Court of Appeal’s decision means that Bentley Motors must stop using the sign BENTLEY and its associated logo on its clothing.
The Court of Appeal’s decision may be surprising to some but again illustrates that registering trademarks can protect even the smallest of brands against large multi-national businesses. It is important however to remember that registration alone is not enough – to keep a trademark a business must use it. This case also serves as a reminder that businesses looking to branch out into new areas need to carry out proper searches to check that their branding does not conflict with the intellectual property rights of other parties.
Our specialist Intellectual Property Disputes Solicitors routinely advises on a broad range of disputes involving trademarks along with other intellectual property disputes relating to copyright, patents, confidential information and data protection.
The team is also highly skilled at advising on design rights and reputation management issues and are regularly instructed by clients from the arts, media, textile and clothing sectors in the UK and internationally. If you need advice on trademark or other intellectual property infringements, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team on 0161 941 4000 or email The Intellectual Property Dispute Team.