'Fight for what is yours' - Alyssa Smith Jewellery's message following High Court win
- Credit: Alyssa Smith Jewellery
A Letchworth-based jewellery business has won a 'passing off' claim, defending its brand name in the specialist Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.
Alyssa Smith Jewellery was set up in 2009, when Alyssa started out designing and making all her own pieces as a sole trader.
Over time she successfully expanded the business - most recently. doubling her members of staff from four to eight despite the COVID lockdowns.
The bespoke jewellery business won the ruling to protect the brand, name and social media handles against the design, production and sale of jewellery - which amounted to the passing off of Alyssa Smith Jewellery.
A claim in passing off is based on the notion that no one has the right to represent their goods or services as being those of somebody else.
The case was heard at the The specialist Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, part of the Business and Property Courts of the High Court of Justice. It was primarily related to the use of the disputed name online - including on the defendant’s Alisa Goodstone's website and social media - which was titled 'Alyssa Jewellery Design'.
To be successful, ASJ had to satisfy the judge that there was sufficient goodwill in the Alyssa Smith Jewellery brand before the defendant started using the name.
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The judge found that ASJ had goodwill in its name and in the social media handle @AlyssaJewellery by December 2012, particularly as a result of the substantial social media following and the amount of publicity and celebrity endorsements achieved in the early years of the business.
ASJ also had to prove that the defendant’s use of the name was likely to lead to confusion that their products were ASJ products or connected with ASJ.
The judge was satisfied on the evidence that use of the name “Alyssa” in relation to jewellery, sold in very similar ways to ASJ, would be likely to lead to confusion and as a result of that confusion, damage to ASJ’s goodwill.
The result of this case is that the defendant has now been ordered to stop using the name “Alyssa” and related names, to delete their social media accounts, to deliver up all materials with those names on them and to transfer their website domain name to ASJ.
In addition, they have been ordered to pay over 90 per cent of ASJ’s legal costs and to provide financial information about their business so that ASJ can decide whether to pursue further financial remedies.
Director and founder of ASJ, Alyssa Smith said: ‘’I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome. This has been a long and drawn out battle, not to mention expensive but I am delighted to have been vindicated.
"This isn’t just an accomplishment for myself and my own brand but I’m flying the flag for the whole jewellery sector and all SMEs.
"We now have a court case to rely on and for anyone finding themselves in a similar position, I hope this gives you the fighting power you need to protect what is rightfully yours."