Fieldfisher secures victory for Karen Millen in dispute with company founder
IP team wins High Court battle for fashion retailer.
European law firm Fieldfisher yesterday secured a successful judgment for Karen Millen Fashions Ltd, in a High Court dispute with the company founder of the same name over her rights to use the name.
The designer sold her fashion business to Baugur, the Icelandic investor, for £95m in 2004, and in doing so agreed not to use her name in future business ventures. However, Ms Millen wanted to use the trade marks comprising 'Karen Millen', and 'Karen' for a new homewares and lifestyle business, which is focused on the US and China.
Richard Meade QC ruled yesterday that use of any of these trade marks would breach the original sale agreement and it was "hard to see" how they would not be confusing for consumers. The ruling related specifically to the US and Chinese markets.
Nick Rose, head of Fieldfisher's Intellectual Property and Technology Dispute Resolution Group, led the team with the support of senior associate Sheena Sheikh Brown, solicitor Charlotte Hilton and trainee Christopher Leung. Rose said: "This is an important and very significant ruling for our client, with the ruling confirming that cosmetics, jewellery and furnishings are all related to fashion and design and therefore confusingly similar to, and in direct competition with, our client's business."