Bentley Motor’s Trademark Issues
The (Volkswagen-owned) #Bently Motors Company launched a line of clothing several years ago with the brand BENTLEY and, in the process, attempted to cancel Bentley Clothing Co.’s trademarks. They considered that the natural expansion of their car business and their brand was in the apparel industry.
They grossly miscalculated their expansion efforts which resulted in a legal boomerang. Bentley Clothing Co. had several trademark registrations in their favor for apparel goods which they used to file a trademark infringement #lawsuit against Bentley Motors.
After several years of litigation they prevailed. Now the car maker may end up being ordered to destroy unsold clothing inventory bearing the BENTLEY brand. The court highlighted that Bentley Motors should have conducted a trademark search from the beginning (which can take less than an hour).
This case also highlights the importance of not only trademark searches but also holding legal title of a mark. Bentley Clothing prevailed over a notoriously larger (and older) global corporation because they hold #trademark registrations under their name. Lesson to be learned: run a trademark search and register your mark.