09 December 2013
Local business successful in restraining similarly named competitor
The B P Collins litigation and dispute resolution team recently assisted a leading regional housing developer with a substantial reputation, successfully compelling a competitor to change its name to protect our client’s business and long-established reputation.
Our client became aware of a company trading in a similar industry and operating with a name that was exceptionally similar in nature to its own. It appeared to be a clear attempt to pass that business off as that of our client's.
After a thorough and swift initial investigation of all of the facts, we formulated a litigation strategy. We focussed on the key legal and procedural framework for this type of litigation but we deployed our experience with a commercially sensible focus.
In this instance, our client’s case had all of the key ingredients for a successful passing off claim; it had a long history of successful trading and substantial goodwill and reputation attached to its trading name; the distinction in the two trading names was so slight that the chances of confusion within the general public were very high.
Companies Act 2006
Given the similarity in the trading name adopted by the 'offending' party (which was also registered at Companies House), our client was entitled to raise an objection with the Adjudicator of Company Names pursuant to Part 5 of the Act. Under this provision, the Adjudicator can force the amendment of the “offending” company’s registered name in certain circumstances. Again, in this instance, our client had a compelling case; it could demonstrate that goodwill attached to its trading name and it was difficult to imagine how the offending party could say its own trading name had been adopted legitimately.
We set out client's reasoned concerns at an early stage, which allowed the parties to negotiate on an informed footing. As a result, our client achieved a very favourable and cost effective resolution, including a term requiring the disclosure of information and a voluntary change of name.