Do you protect your business and product names by registered trademarks? If not you could lose money and be unable to stop others using the same trade name for the same or similar goods.

Lots of new businesses are being set up in the recession often by those who have been made redundant and one of the areas to check for protection is trademarks. Always search the trademarks register and on-line, as well as at Companies House for company names before you choose a name for your business or products. We can advise you on this and other business start up issues. Also, if someone else infringes your rights you can bring a legal action for breach of trademark or, if you have not registered, laws known as “passing off” can apply.

In a recent case the court looked at restrictions in trademark licensing agreements. In May 2000, Christian Dior entered into a trademark licence agreement with SIL for the manufacture and distribution of luxury goods under the Christian Dior trademark. SIL agreed not to sell to discount stores outside the selective distribution network without Dior’s written consent. This is very common in practice. SIL also had to ensure that its distributors and retailers complied with this. However, SIL sold goods to discount store Copad despite Christian Dior’s refusal to give consent. Christian Dior brought an action against SIL and Copad. The court held that a trademark owner could sue in a case such as this.

If you are the victim of rights infringements or need advice on business start up issues, please contact Cathy Cook at Jordans Solicitors Wakefield Office in West Yorkshire.

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