Small Manchester clothing firm triumphs over large Crewe car firm
Bentley Motors has lost a trademark dispute with a tiny clothes company called Bentley Clothing, and is now considering its legal options following the ruling by the UK Intellectual Property Office. “I do not accept that Bentley Motors have... [shown] that they have used their mark,” said hearing officer George Salthouse.
Bentley Clothing, reports the Financial Times, is based in Manchester and employs around 10 people. It is yet to open an online shop and sells its products in just a few shops across Britain. Originally founded in London back in 1962 by Gerard Bentley, it originally made golf apparel.
Bob and Christopher Lees bought the brand in 1990, and later purchased the Bentley Clothing name after the original companies went into receivership. They registered a UK trademark for clothing in 2009 – and this is what Bentley was seeking to cancel.
Bentley Motors argued Bentley Clothing was trading on its reputation, but Mr. Lees countered that Bentley did not have a strong reputation in clothing and had “acquiesced in its use of the Bentley name”. On 15 March, the UK Intellectual Property Office found in favour of Bentley Clothing.
Accessories such as clothing are big business for luxury car makers with enviable brands. Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer said it could, in time, account for half the company’s revenue. Bentley, however, currently makes only a small percentage of its annual turnover from accessories.