iLaw name sparks English-Irish battle

The new three-partner IP/IT boutique set up by former partners at Osborne Clarke and DMH Stallard has been hit with a lawsuit in its first week of operation.

iLaw Legal Services is facing a claim from Dublin-based Mason Hayes & Curran and Belfast’s Carson McDowell that it has breached a trademark by using the name ‘iLaw’.

The Irish firms have been operating an Ireland alliance called i-Law since 2001.

“We’ll seek a court order,” said Mason Hayes managing partner Declan Moylan. “We’ve written to them and demanded they undertake to stop using the name. We’re determined to pursue this vigorously.”

Former Osbornes IP litigator Mark Culbert, one of the co-founders of the new firm, confirmed that he had received a letter threatening legal action. But he argued that the Irish iLaw did not have a case and had provided no evidence of any potential conflict.

“We carried out our due diligence and found no evidence of their alliance name,” he said. “We genuinely don’t believe there’s any overlap between the two firms as we’re solely offering English law advice in England. They’re offering an all-Ireland legal solution.”

The English iLaw has instructed Ian Purvis of 11 South Square. Culbert said: “If they decide to fight, we’ll fight.”