JAGUAR Land Rover has lost a trademark dispute against car customising business Twisted Automotive.
North Yorkshire-based Twisted uses the ‘LR Motors’ name for its showroom in Thirsk, where it modifies Land Rovers by upgrading second-hand Defenders, often with more powerful engines, adapted bodywork and beefier suspension components.
Jaguar Land Rover contested that ‘LR Motors’ was too similar to ‘JLR’, which the brand is often shortened to. Twisted counterclaimed that it had registered the name as a trademark in 2015 and Jaguar Land Rover had never used ‘LR’ as a trading name or a trademark.
The Court of Appeal threw out the case, following which Charles Fawcett, the founder of Twisted, said he had won a victory against ‘bullying tactics’.
Mrs Justice Rose wrote after the hearing: ‘The undisputed evidence was that Jaguar Land Rover has never used the initials ‘LR’ as a sign for its goods in this country. Jaguar stated at the hearing that it was not putting forward any use of ‘LR’ prior to the application for registration in support of its application.’
Twisted is just one of many companies that customises Land Rover products. Others, such as Holland & Holland, which focuses on the shooting industry, or Overfinch, which customises Range Rovers and can count celebrities and footballers among its clientele, have been doing a roaring trade for many years.
However, Land Rover’s chief designer, Gerry McGovern, believes that JLR’s in-house customisation team – Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) – will soon render such firms obsolete. Motoring publication Autocar reported him as saying: ‘It’s easy to take a product that’s already been created and put a little spoiler on it or whatever. I’d like to see them design their own car.
‘We see them taking our property and making a bit more profit. Well, we’re going to put them out of business through SVO.’
Jaguar Land Rover wouldn’t comment on the case but said that it took matters of intellectual property very seriously.