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Anand Beharrylal QC leads in successful commercial claim in the Court of Appeal of Trinidad & Tobago

Cases 13 Oct 22

Anand Beharrylal KC leading Yaseen Ahmed and instructed by Tara Lutchman (Trinidad), succeeded in a long running trademarks and business assets dispute for the Appellants a limited company and one its directors (now deceased) in the Court of Appeal, which reversed the decision of the High Court.

The appeal concerned complicated issues of fact and law in relation to the ownership of trust property, business assets, abandonment of interest, creation of a trademark and ownership of that trademark for the purposes of registration with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The High Court after trial had found broadly in favour of the Respondent (the former partner of one of the directors) that he had an interest in both the business, its assets and in the trademark that the company applied to register, in essence due to his historical personal and business association when in relationship with one of the directors many years before incorporation. The Respondent challenged the registration of the company’s trademark and put forward a rival trademark of his own, but only after a lengthy period of some 21 years. This triggered the High Court action.

The Court of Appeal accepted that the High Court made substantial errors in the evaluation of the evidence presented against the legal principles to be applied. On appellate review it was accepted the evidence as a whole showed that Respondent had stripped a historical defunct business of all essentials before abandoning it thus refuting any foundation of a trust, had contributed absolutely nothing to the growth and success of the company from 1989 onwards, had contributed nothing to the development of the goodwill of its business, and had carried on no business under the name or style used by the company or the trademark it applied to register.

Following the Court of Appeal decision it has been ordered that Respondent has no interest or claim against the company because it was not jointly owned with the late director, the company is now entitled to register its trademark and an order was granted directing the Registrar of the IPO to register the trademark in the name of the company and to refuse registration of the Respondent’s rival trademark.

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Cases | 13 Oct 22

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