Trademark dispute gets a local helping hand

When it comes to intellectual property disputes, companies invariably choose one of the major London specialists.

In one pending High Court action, however, northern company Defender Security Systems has sought legal advice from a firm on its own doorstep.

Solicitor Jonathan Armstrong, a member of the fast-expanding IP department at Keeble Hawson Rodgers & Howe in Leeds, has been called in to handle the case.

He said that although London specialists have an important role to play in IP cases, there is a strong argument for companies in the regions to engage local firms as long as their track records confirm they know the subject.

The action, which could see early hearings in the next legal term, is between Sheffield-based Defender and Geoquip of Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

Defender has provided security systems for establishments such as Sheffield University, Hull Kingston Rovers' ground and the offices of Cornhill Insurance.

The company will ask the court for injunctions banning Geoquip from allegedly infringing Defender's trademarks and from passing off its goods or services as being connected with Defender.

Armstrong has helped build up the specialist IP practice at Keeble Hawson. He said that he always considered it important to be located reasonably close to a client.

"You can invariably see a point much better the closer contact you are in with the clients," he said.

"There really is no substitute for getting out of the office and being on the spot. Consequently there is a very strong argument for more use to be made of provincial firms on specialist matters.

"I am confident we can give advice equally as good and often better than the major city firms and that we can offer rapid response which is second to none."