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Bentley told to destroy clothing line following trademark battle that lasted 15 years

Time 4 months ago

Bentley has been told to destroy its line of clothing after losing a trademark dispute with a fashion firm.

Car Dealer reported back in November 2019 how, in a ruling at the High Court in London, a judge ruled that the luxury car maker had infringed the trademark rights of Manchester-based Bentley Clothing by using the Bentley name on its own line of clothes. 

As a result of the ruling, Bentley Motors won’t be able to use the name on its clothing range in the UK. 

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In addition, the car maker will be limited to selling jackets, silk ties, caps and scarves. It won’t be allowed to sell any other type of clothing or headgear. 

In a statement after the ruling, Bentley Clothing director Chris Lees said: ‘I could either let Volkswagen-owned Bentley Motors take from us what had been my family’s since 1990, or spend 15 years and our life savings fighting them.

‘It’s been ruinous, financially and emotionally, and today’s decision is a huge relief.’

According to the BBC, Bentley Motors has now been told to destroy any clothes featuring the Bentley logo by February 3.

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It is also reported that Bentley Clothing rejected a request made by Bentley Motors to donate the leftover stock of clothing to charity once the branding had been removed. 

Bentley Clothing director Chris Lees and his father Bob Lees

The dispute had been ongoing since Bentley Clothing – founded in 1962 – first approached Bentley Motors in 1998.

The High Court action was launched in 2018 after years of negotiations.

Bentley Clothing, which comprises companies Brandlogic and Bentley 1962, has had a registered trademark of the name Bentley since 1982.

Chris’s father Bob Lees, 83, added: ‘We made a very sensible business proposal to the Volkswagen CEO in 1998. What strikes me most about Volkswagen and Bentley Motors is their lack of good strategic business sense.’

Simon Bennett of Fox Williams solicitors, who represented Bentley Clothing, said: ‘This case shows the power of trademarks to protect the rights of even the smallest of companies against large multinationals.

‘The Bentley Clothing trademarks were validly registered and survived numerous attacks by Bentley Motors.

‘The Lees family as owners of the Bentley Clothing brand had no choice but to issue High Court proceedings to stop Bentley Motors from infringing their marks.’

Jack Evans's avatar

Jack Evans is the head of editorial for Car Dealer parent company Blackball Media. An experienced motoring journalist, he covers the latest car launches, motoring news and produces a variety of features for this website.

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