Bentley Motors has lost a 20-year trademark battle against family-run business Bentley Clothing, and will no longer able to use or sell its branded clothing.
The luxury car manufacturer has been ordered to pay damages and costs to Bentley Clothing, and to destroy all clothing that infringes the Bentley trademark.
Bentley Clothing co-owners Christopher and Bob Lees instigated the case in 1998.
In a statement, they said they launched the high court case in 2017, after Bentley Motors continually “tried to cancel Bentley Clothing’s trade mark” and felt they had “no choice but to protect its rights”.
Judge Hacon today ruled in favour of the family-owned British business, commenting: “My impression of Bentley Motors’ policy is … consistent with an intent to clear away Bentley Clothing’s right to protect the Bentley mark for clothing and headgear, and ultimately to extinguish Bentley Clothing’s right altogether”.
Christopher Lees said: “I could either let Volkswagen-owned Bentley Motors take from us what had been my family’s [business] since 1990, or spend 15 years and our life-savings fighting them.”
“It’s been ruinous, financially and emotionally, and today’s decision is a huge relief.”
Bob Lees added: “What strikes me most about VW and Bentley Motors is their lack of good strategic business sense.”