Fashion Retailer Copyright Dispute

Bell Yard was hired by a European retailer to expose its copyright dispute with a UK online fashion retailer intent on expanding into the European’s home market. Our client saw the potential for customer confusion, owing to the written and oral similarities of its brand name, and mounted a full legal challenge in Europe.

Bell Yard prepared a series of storylines to garner media attention and carefully identified media targets. The aim was to fire a warning-shot across the bows of the UK retailer’s management, rather than to alert consumers to the legal dispute. We moved to unveil the dispute around the UK company’s financial results, in an attempt to hijack the headlines the retailer would be attracting at that time. The FT led with the story and follow-up items subsequently appeared in a number of UK national press. The dispute was also covered by retail trade publications (such as Drapers) and the marketing trade media. Naturally, news outlets chose to include photography of the UK retailer’s models on catwalks to accompany the story, which helped maximize the page space the dispute received.

Bell Yard was also hired by a consulting firm to assist during its intellectual property dispute with a competitor for alleged unlawful theft of its data. Our client had clear evidence to support its claim and was determined to protect its IP from illegitimate use, given its hard-earned and longstanding reputation.

The company decided to alert its employees to the legal action, to ensure uniformity of message should clients enquire about the case. Bell Yard provided messaging support and tactical communications advice until the matter was resolved. Ultimately our client was vindicated by the settlement of the copyright infringement claim and made a strong statement to that effect on its website. All further commentary on the matter was closed down, so as to extinguish the spotlight.

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