Protecting your Business from ‘Passing-Off’

25th October 2011
Protecting your Business from ‘Passing-Off’ image

Protecting your Business from ‘Passing-Off’

When your business is successful, and builds up an excellent reputation and customer goodwill, competitors may try to pass themselves off as your company in order to “steal” some of your business.

What is Passing-Off?

The most common form of passing-off is when a competitor uses a similar name to that of your business.  The unscrupulous competitor could trade using a name similar to yours, perhaps with only a slight change which a customer might not notice.  As a result that customer could go to this competitor in error, rather than yourself, resulting in a loss of business for you. Furthermore if your competitor is not as good, your reputation could plummet.

The actions of the competitor here do not have to be intentional, and you can go to Court to protect your business.

Other common forms of passing-off include using a similar logo to you, or advertising using similar or same slogans etc.  These things can confuse customers, re-directing their business elsewhere.

What problems can Passing-Off cause? 

Obviously your business may lose out on customers who have been led to believe that another business is actually you, and you might not even know about it!  Not only do you lose these customers, you can also lose their repeat business.  Furthermore if that competitor’s business is not as good as yours, your reputation can be damaged and adverse publicity may follow.  It can be very difficult to quantify how much loss or damage a passing-off can cause.

What can you do about Passing-Off? 

You might be able to get an injunction stopping your competitor from using the offending name, logo or advertisement, as well as getting compensation not only for loss of earnings but also for any gain made by the competitor from using your name etc.

If you think that someone is passing-off as your business, then you need to take action straight away.  Often the offending business, when confronted, will back down and refrain from using the offending name etc.  If they don’t, then you need to take the appropriate legal action to protect your business.

For advice on passing-off actions or any issue as to intellectual property please contact Daven Naghen on 01775 722261, or at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 1DH or Gemma Mayer on 01775 722261, or at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills image

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills

Recent headlines have reported how banks are now cashing in on Wills.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, banks offered customers low cost Wills (or sometimes even free Wills) but the small print allowed the bank to charge extortionate rates to act as Executors. It is reported that banks are expecting billions of pounds of revenue from their Will writing services and administering estates and in some cases their fees have been over £12,000 to administer an estate as they look to charge a fixed fee PLUS a percentage of the deceased’s wealth.

If you or a loved one has made a Will through a bank we would urge you to check who you have appointed as Executors and check any small print which you may have signed. If you are unsure then please speak with one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate team who can look at your existing Will with you. It may be appropriate to make a new Will which revokes any previous Will you have made which could save your family thousands of pounds when your estate needs to be administered.

In the majority of cases, when someone has passed away we can provide the family with a quote of how much the legal fees will be so that there are no nasty surprises once the administration is complete.

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Gemma Mayer LLB

"I would highly recommend Maples Solicitors, especially Gemma Mayer, for any conveyancing work. The level of support and professionalism was excellent at all times. I also felt if I needed to ask or clarify anything that it was not an issue. Buying and selling a house is stressful enough, but Gemma helped me through it step by step."

Anita Toal LLB BA

"I think you are brilliant. You can use my comments above. You are efficient, friendly and quite clearly very good at what you do. Mainly you don’t leave people hanging around too long for." "So easy to talk to her and she understood what I wanted. She put me at ease and I cant thank her enough"

Daven Naghen LLB

"Daven provided an excellent service, from attending the first interview with me to the final court appearance. He filled me full of confidence that he would defend me to which he did and come out with an excellent outcome in view of my position that I had put myself in."

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

Mike Pepper gave us excellent advice. He was always most helpful and accommodating giving lucid explanations every step of the way. Thank you Mike.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!