Bentley vs. Bentley, the dispute is over with a movie screenplay
In november 2015 Brand Jam gave voice to Christopher Lees, featuring an interview about his litigation with Volkswagen’s Bentley Motor Group on Bentley clothing trademark.
The story: Bentley Clothing is a British lifestyle apparel brand established in 1962, owned by the Lees family since 1990. VW’s Bentley Motors launched a Bentley apparel range in the UK in 2005 2001, encroaching on the Lees’ IP rights. The litigation get worse as a trademark bullying case, with Bentley Motors claiming it had used the Bentley mark for clothing since 1920 and had a “very high level” of goodwill, applying to cancel all the Bentley Clothing trademarks (details on the tones in the Bentley Motors attorneys letters to Lees’ on this The TradeMark Lawyer issue)
In March 2017, the dispute comes to an end; Bentley Motor’s application is declared invalid, Bentley Motors decides not to appeal with the invalidity, Bentley Clothing is still in the Lees’ family ownership and control.
One of the few cases in which a big corporate fails against a small business, “Bentley vs. Bentley” got the obvious attention in the Intellectual Properties professionals community, with passionate conversations in the specialized forums, and Christopher Lees invited as a speaker at INTA – International Trademark Association European event 2017 in Barcelona.
Also the prestigious review Raconteur featured the David vs. Goliath angle of Lees’ dispute on a special report in The Times. But Lees has also been contacted by a film producer to make a movie out of this battle, a sign that there are probably more interesting aspects in this case than simply legal dispute.
Business conduct is for sure one of those, and from our standpoint we are eager to understand the effects on business that this case has left on the ground. Bentley Clothing may want to recover the trust of his trade customers, which, scared about potential seizures during the battle stop stocking the label. Bentley Motors could define a different strategy on clothing merchandising strategy in UK. Or was it just a Pyrrhic victory for Lees?
We asked Christopher Lees to let us know what’s on his side, so stay in tune for his answer in the next weeks.
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