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Manchester firm Linder Myers has launched a service tailor-made for the fashion business.
The service, Clothing Namecheck, will identify trademarks and brand names which are in use but unregistered and could save clothing manufacturers and retailers hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal expenses, the firm says.
Registered trade marks can be found in the Trade Marks Registry and at Companies House, but thousands of labels and brand names are not formally registered, said Linder Myers business partner Trevor Bell.
"A successful claim of passing off against a company which is using a competitor's label, even though it is not registered, can often leave the company facing colossal costs," he says.
Clothing Namecheck has a database of more than 20,000 names and labels used in the fashion trade, most of which are not formally registered. A proposed brand name can be checked for u50 per search.
"I have worked extensively in the fashion clothing industry, advising companies on copyright, passing off and trademark matters for many years. It became obvious that an unregistered trademark service was desperately needed by the industry," says Bell.
WARWICKSHIRE firm Blythe Liggins has been appointed legal adviser to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), the largest professional body for estate agents in the UK.
Richard Thornton, a partner at the Leamington law firm, said: "This is quite a coup for us. We will be providing legal advice to the association and its members on general matters, as well as specific issues like internal disciplinary procedures and government legislation.
"The NAEA has nearly 50 branches in the UK, and is leading the way in Europe by helping found the European Confederation of Estate Agents."
The 10,000-member association was formed to protect the public against fraud, misrepresentation and malpractice and to fight restrictive practices and encourage high ethical standards.
It is regularly consulted by both British and Continental governments, for example by the UK Government on the Property Misdescriptions Act.