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Karen Millen responds to reports over potential trademark infringement

Womenswear retailer Karen Millen will “take very seriously” any attempts to trade using its name following reports that its founder wants to start trading again, despite her having sold all interests in the business in 2004.

On Monday it was reported that the founders of the retailer, Karen Millen and her former husband, All Saints co-founder Kevin Stanford, were pursuing legal action against collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing for the way in which they lost a near 7% interest in Mosaic Fashions (now known as Aurora Fashions) the businesses’ former owner.

It was also reported that Karen Millen wants to start trading again but faces potential wrangling over trademark infringement.

Karen Millen, the retailer, owns the rights to the Karen Millen brand name and has warned of trademark infringement if Millen returns to business under the brand name Karen or KM.

In a response to the reports, Karen Millen said: “When Karen Millen and Kevin Stanford decided to sell the Karen Millen business for £120m in 2004 in order to pursue other interests, they sold all rights to the use of the Karen Millen brand name or any iterations of it. 

“Since the acquisition, the Karen Millen brand has gone on to become one of British fashion’s greatest successes, operating in 45 countries around the world and employing 1,700 people, including 1,100 in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

“Naturally, we take very seriously attempts by any third parties to trade on our name, goodwill and reputation, which would be in clear breach of our intellectual property rights.  We will always take measures to protect our brand, our company and our employees, as any business would.”

The retailer added that while it would be “delighted” to see someone with Millen’s talent back in the market, they believe that she would want any new venture to be successful in its own right and not to be confused with the Karen Millen brand which she sold in 2004.

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