Legal Week reports today that although London-based Lovells has won its acrimonious case against a Spanish lawyer over the use of the firm’s name in Spain, it now faces another two years of legal battles following the defendant’s decision to appeal. The Madrid Court of First Instance ruled late last year that the name of Manuel Rayo’s local firm, Lovell Abogados, was void as a trade mark and that it should cease using the name. However, any hopes Lovells had of ending the year-long fight for exclusive rights to the name were dashed when Rayo appealed against the judgment on 17 December. Lovells had to file its reply by Wednesday (2 February) before the Court of Appeal makes a ruling based on written submissions. Even if the court rules in favour of Lovells, Rayo is likely to appeal again to the Spanish Supreme Court, potentially dragging the dispute on for years. Lovells filed the original suit in February 2004 after Rayo demanded compensation following the firm’s Madrid launch, claiming the brand was too similar to his locally-registered Lovell Abogados. Lovells claimed it has been using the name since 1899 and registered it in 1999 as a Community trade mark in all EU member states — the same year Rayo registered his in Spain. Lovells accused Rayo of acting in bad faith as there are no lawyers called Lovell at his firm and it had been practising in Spain only since 2000.
The IPKat says this is just the sort of stupid prank that can give Spain a bad reputation throughout Europe.
Lovell Abogados here. Email Manuel Rayo here to tell him what you think of his choice of name for a law firm.