Court sees Redd!
Posted: 19th December 2012
Intellectual property law specialists, Redd Solicitors LLP (the firm), have triumphed in a breach of trade mark claim against licensed conveyancers, Red Legal Limited (the company). The High Court accepted that the firm had a legitimate interest in avoiding any possible public confusion between the two businesses and noted that the company had continued to expand even after being informed of the firm’s objection.
The word ‘Redd’ was registered by the firm as a community trade mark in respect of the provision of ‘legal services’ in 2005. In holding that the company had breached the firm’s rights in that mark, the court emphasised that the logo ‘Red Legal’ had been used not merely to identify a company name but ‘upfront’ to promote a brand.
‘Red Legal’ was a ‘made up name’ and the company had no particular reason for using it. The way in which the name was used did not draw the public’s attention to the fact that the company was engaged solely in licensed conveyancing. The court also noted that the company had not conducted a trade mark search prior to making use of the name or taken legal advice that would have alerted it to the real risk of infringement.
The judge concluded: ‘Overall, I do not think that the company’s use of the ‘Red Legal’ in any of its various forms is an example of fair competition having regard to the legitimate interests of the trade mark proprietor in this case. Accordingly, the company has no defence to the claim for infringement of the Redd mark.’ The court went on to rule that one of the company’s directors was also ‘personally liable’ for the infringement.