1. Fashion Brand Counterfeit and Passing Off Issue
Client: Operator of a Consumer Fashion and Accessories Brand
Issue: Client chose to work with Brand Asset Protect to protect its brand online. Brand Asset Protect identified online threats to the brand, mainly through imitation websites, grey market sales listings, sales of fake products on marketplace sites. In addition there were elements of passing off, IP infringement, brand confusion, domain name infringement and the use of copyrighted material including the company logo.
Challenges: Managing client expectations on potential results and financial risk vs reward, maintaining a positive brand image, protecting customers from purchasing counterfeit products, IP and Domain Name Infringements, Volume of websites and online sales sites, seeking cooperation via online intemediaries.
Results: Removal of products from online marketplaces, online listings removed, reclaimed online traffic, improved reputation and customer
2. High Profile UK Personality: Defamation of Character
Client: UK Entrepreneur With Media Profile
Issue: Client contacted Brand Asset Protect via his management company following distress caused by a damaging and embarrassing article which had been published in the national press. The article had been reposted and had been shared and commented on, on various social media networks. The nature of the social media postings and the article meant that our client’s personal relationships and extensive commercial activities were at risk.
Challenges: Whether the article itself was defamatory or not was questionable. This presented a potential problem for the client, as our initial advice was that there was no obligation on the part of the national publication to remove the article. There was no question about the social media postings, which were defamatory. The challenge for our team was to managing the client’s expectations on the results of any actions we were instructed to take.
Results: Removal of all offending Social Media Postings and comments. Removal of article.
3. Defending Use of Third Party Identity / Alleged Breach of Human Rights Act
Client: National UK Media and PR Company
Issue: Client had been received a letter of claim from another firm of UK solicitors, who had complained about the fact that their client’s image had been used without their client’s consent in a UK advertising and media campaign which had been managed by our client on behalf of it’s customer, a public authority. The client initially contacted Brand Asset Protect to assist with negotiating a settlement with the other party’s solicitors.
Challenges: Removing our client’s customer from the communication loop to preserve their close working relationship. Minimising the impact on other business relationships and mitigating adverse media publicity. Minimising our client’s expense.
Results: Following a review of the evidence, we put together a robust defence to all allegations and claims. This resulted in the withdrawal of the complaint and no financial settlement with the claimant. Our client saved a substantial ‘five-figure’ sum, which had been previously set aside to cover their costs. The matter was handled in total confidence and adverse media publicity was avoided.
4. Use of Image Without Consent / Defamation Of Character
Client: Ex-World Champion Sports Personality
Issue: Client was forced to contact Brand Asset Protect after noticing that his image and profile had been used without his consent in an Academy Award winning-US feature film.
Challenges: Understanding the law on Human Rights and Image Rights. Issuing proceedings against US-based defendants. Constructing a case for our client in a rarely litigated area of law.
Results: Secured a confidential cash settlement for client.
5. Defending Use of Third Party Brand
Client: New York-based Marketing Company
Issue: A New York client produced an advertising campaign for a national US-retailer. The US retailer received a letter of claim from an international law firm alleging use of an internationally protected mark in the campaign, providing evidence of the infringing use and demanding substantial damages.
Challenges: Protecting our client’s and the end-user client’s interests to the extent possible. Understanding and advising our client (and it’s client’s general counsel) as to the law and its options. Managing client expectations on possible results and financial impact. Negotiation of a reduced financial settlement.
Results: Achieved a heavily negotiated confidential settlement that was within an acceptable range to our client, without involvement of their own client.
6. Online Reputation Management
Client: London Hospitality Company
Issue: Client was the victim of a defamatory and malicious online campaign which had negative reputational consequences and was threatening their 30-year old business.
Challenges: Navigating the client through its online reputation management process, which involves: Removing malicious online content on third-party websites, social media platforms, blogs, removing defamatory comments from online advisory services, Implementing a “positive” media strategy to minimise – to the extent possible – negative comments, feedback and search results. Implementation of a diverse range of tactics takes months, possibly years to achieve results.
Results: Ongoing instruction
7. Identity Theft and Fraud
Client: Printing Company
Issue: Our Client company and its directors were the victims of identity theft and fraud, which involved client’s name, directors’ personal information and company details being utilised by fraudsters who took out credit in the company’s name amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds. Client had now received debt recovery letters threatening winding up proceedings from the “creditors”.
Challenges: Research into the facts and circumstances of the fraudulent activity. Putting together evidence of the fraudulent activity. Minimising our client’s losses.
Results: We have put in place a plan of action to confront the previous fraudulent activity and attempt to stem anything further. This is an ongoing instruction.
8. Partnership Dispute
Client: Partner in Services Business
Issue: Our Client was an equal partner in a long-running business dispute. Over the years, our client had been taken advantage of by his partner who ran day-to-day operations. Our client was being forced out of the company by his partner and had been informed by his partner that he owed the partnership hundreds of thousands of pounds in capital as his capital account was overdrawn. He had also been informed that there would be an additional tax liability.
Challenges: Obtaining and reviewing company and partnership information in an acrimonious situation. Considering our client’s position and assessing the best alternative to negotiating with his partner. Minimising our client’s losses.
Results: We reviewed thousands of pages of partnership and company documentation and uncovered a key issue revolving around the receipt by our client of final and interim dividends. This was a point of law and aspect of their partnership that was debated extensively. Together with our associated forensic accounants, we were able to put together a strong case for backdated dividends to be paid to our client in a tax-efficient manner. The net result was that our client received a high six figure settlement as part of his departure from the partnership, with all tax paid, legal costs covered, all drawings repaid and an agreed sum for his equity holdings in the corporate and partnership structure. Both parties were happy and ultimately, the separation was amicable.