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16 January, 2017 - 13:37 By Kate Sweeney

Mills & Reeve advises Land Rover in trade mark battle

Leading UK law firm Mills & Reeve has advised premium car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover on a successful trade mark battle relating to the iconic Land Rover Defender.

On December 14, the High Court gave an important ruling in favour of Jaguar Land Rover in the trade mark infringement claim against Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), part of the Canadian multinational Bombardier.

Jaguar Land Rover had originally issued infringement proceedings in June 2016 after BRP began to sell its range of Defender-badged off-road vehicles in the EU in an obvious conflict with the Land Rover Defender.

BRP responded strongly, challenging the validity of Jaguar Land Rover’s trademarks and alleging bad faith. However, the judge found for Jaguar Land Rover and BRP was ordered to remove the Defender branding from all products and marketing materials in the EU.

Keith Benjamin, global legal director at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We welcome this ruling, recognising the enforceability of our intellectual property rights and preventing use by third parties.

“The Land Rover Defender is an iconic vehicle that is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s past, present and future. The success of our business is based on unique design and engineering attributes, and we intend to protect the brand robustly around the world.”

Claire O’Brien, head of IP Litigation at Mills & Reeve, added: “We were delighted to assist Jaguar Land Rover in such a crucial case, which is one of the first intellectual property cases to be issued in the shorter trials scheme – a pilot scheme designed to bring about the speedy resolution of business disputes.”

Sale of Molecular Products Group

Mills & Reeve has acted for the shareholders of Molecular Products Group (MPG), including Business Growth Fund plc (BGF), on the sale of MPG to Arlington Capital Partners, a Washington DC-based private equity firm.

Headquartered in Harlow, MPG is a leading manufacturer of advanced chemistry-based products serving the healthcare, defence and industrial markets. The company primarily specialises in the manufacture and supply of chemical technologies for the treatment of breathable gases and is able to serve its global customer base out its two primary manufacturing facilities in Essex and Colorado in the US.

MPG was majority owned by the McKernan family whose father established the company in 1973. Since 1995 it has been run by Ian and Andrew McKernan who have continued the family stewardship into its fifth decade. 

BGF’s investment in September 2014 helped the company to move into its new facility in Harlow, invest in new plant and equipment in both the UK and USA and accelerate its global expansion. 

With the acquisition by Arlington, Troy Rhudy, currently President MPG US, will take over the running of the group from Ian McKernan and Andrew McKernan. 

Anthony McGurk, corporate finance partner, led the Mills & Reeve team.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Claire O’Brien, Mills & Reeve

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