Defenders of the Jaguar Land Rover IP battle
Following a protracted legal battle between a Yorkshire-based car customising business and internationally renowned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), it appears that financial power doesn’t necessarily equate to legal horsepower; with the Court of Appeal recently finding in favour of Twisted Automotive’s use of the initials ‘LR’ in the name of their showroom ‘LR Motors’.
Twisted specialise in stylising cars with new components, which they then sell from their showroom in Thirsk.
When JLR called an end to production of the Defender in 2016 Twisted purchased over 200 Land Rover Defenders.
JLR subsequently tried to register the initials ‘LR’ as a trade mark but Twisted opposed the attempt claiming that as they were already trading using the initials they had accumulated a significant amount of ‘goodwill’.
What is a trade mark?
A trade mark distinguishes the work of one business from another and is usually a word or logo. You don’t need to register a trade mark however a registered trade mark offers greater protection and has a registration date at the Intellectual Property Office.
What happened next?
Twisted’s opposition was upheld at the UK Intellectual Property Court in May 2018, however JLR tried to appeal that decision at the High Court, which again found in favour of Twisted.
Following the Court’s decision, Mrs Justice Rose said: “the undisputed evidence was that Jaguar Land Rover has never used the initials ‘LR’ as a sign for its goods in this country” and commented further that at the Hearing, JLR didn’t provide a proposed use for the initials.
JLR flexed its muscles once more and lodged a further Appeal at the Court of Appeal, but the Court again found in favour of Twisted, stating that JLR were simply trying to run the same case that the High Court had rejected.
What does this mean now?
The Twisted case shows you may already be in the driving seat when it comes to protecting your Intellectual Property if your business is established. However it also shows the value of owning either an unregistered or registered trade mark.
Always seek advice
Intellectual Property is a complex area of law – therefore if you are interested in applying to register a trade mark, fear another business may be trying to infringe your Intellectual Property, or you have received notice that you are in breach of existing rights, it is recommended that you obtain specialist legal advice.