Titanic v Titanic - trade mark litigation
Written by Thomas Mould on 06 December 2016« Return to Reading Room
Titanic name battle – High Court rules
r “passing off” of it in the future.
He did not ban the Liverpool hotel from using the word Titanic though. He said they werA legal battle over use of the word Titanic in the names of a Huddersfield spa and a Liverpool hotel has ended in success for the operators of the Huddersfield spa after they challenged the Liverpool operation’s use of the name.
Mr Justice Carr has ruled on the bitter multi-faceted trade-mark dispute between two major hotel and property companies.
Property Renaissance Ltd who set up Huddersfield’s Titanic Spa and Stanley Dock Hotel Ltd and Stanley Dock Properties Ltd who trade as and run Titanic Hotel Liverpool ran into trouble over use of the Titanic name.
The judge said the “battle” was over trade marks which included the name Titanic. He said Property Renaissance set up the Titanic Spa in the Edwardian former textile mill in Huddersfield which was known as Titanic Mills because of its size.
The spa opened in 2006, has 33 serviced apartments for overnight accommodation and its turnover last year was £4.8m. It had registered the name Titanic Spa as a trade mark in 2011.
The Stanley Dock companies opened the Titanic Hotel Liverpool in 2014 and included references to the hotel having a spa, referred to as “T-Spa.”
It was after that, that Titanic Huddersfield launched its complaint about the use of the name T-Spa. In December 2014, though, the Liverpool venture was re-named “the Spa” and in April this year there was further re-branding and was named the “Maya Blue Spa”.
However, the judge said the Titanic Huddersfield still took action claiming that use of the word Titanic in the hotel name was a breach of their trade mark.
Use of the Titanic name for the Liverpool hotel stemmed from the fact that the driving force for the venture was Northern Ireland property developer Patrick Doherty who had been behind the redevelopment of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter – one of Europe’s largest regeneration schemes.
The judge said the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool was given the name because Doherty wanted to expand the “Titanic brand” to areas where there was a connection with the Titanic.
Justice Carr ruled that there had been infringement of the Titanic Spa trade mark as a result of the Liverpool hotel operation however, he said that steps already taken to change the name and further steps proposed would avoid the likelihood of future confusion.
In these circumstances, he upheld the Huddersfield operation’s claim that there had been “passing off” of their name Titanic Spa in the past. But he said that in view of the changes already made and proposed there would be no furthee “legitimately entitled to use the signs ‘Titanic Quarter’ and ‘Titanic Quarter Hotel Liverpool’ in relation to hotels in the UK.But he rejected a claim by those behind the Liverpool operation that the Huddersfield operation’s use of the name Titanic Spa had in fact breached its trade marks. He said both sides had valuable businesses and the “very high-risk litigation” put in jeopardy the goodwill they had both.
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