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WS Foster & Son wins trademark case against Brooks Brothers

US retailer Brooks Brothers has lost a trademark case launched against it by footwear manufacturer and retailer WS Foster & Son.

The case centred on the use of a fox and hunting boot logo, which is used by WS Foster & Son.

The logo was originally used by a business called Peal & Co, which was purchased by Brooks Brothers in 1965. At that time the logo, which had been in existence since the mid-19th century, was dropped. Shortly afterwards, WS Foster & Son recruited a number of employees of the old business and adopted the logo.

But in 2005 Brooks Brothers relaunched its footwear offer using the logo in the UK, resulting in WS Foster & Sons bringing a claim against the firm last year.

Judge Iain Purvis ruled that as Brooks Brothers had abandoned the logo in 1965 no residual goodwill remained under its ownership.

Lee Curtis, trademark lawyer at law firm Harrison Goddard Foote, told Drapers the decision was “unsurprising”.

“This combined with the fact that WE Foster had apparently used the mark since the late sixties, having recruited a number of employees from Peal & Co, led the court to a conclusion that Brooks Brothers could not rely on any residual goodwill in the defence of the passing off action by WE Foster,” he said.

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