Yorkshire businessman wins three year legal battle with Jaguar Land Rover

Charles Fawcett of Twisted Automotive
Charles Fawcett of Twisted Automotive
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An automotive aftermarket business has won a three-year legal battle with industry giant Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) over the use of two letters – LR.

Twisted Automotive, based in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, specialises in re-engineering the Land Rover Defender. The business’s founder, Charles Fawcett, purchased 240 vehicles from JLR when the manufacturer ceased production of the iconic model in January 2016.

A spokesman for Twisted said: “Jaguar first attempted to register ownership of the initials ‘LR’ as a trademark three years ago after requesting Twisted refrain from using it, on the basis that it was widely understood that the letters referred to Land Rover.”

Twisted opposed JLR’s attempt to register ‘LR’ as a trademark in view of alleged earlier rights, having been trading as LR Motors since November 2015 and therefore having acquired goodwill under the

sign. It was alleged that the use of the trademark applied for would be a misrepresentation to the public and result in damage to that goodwill.

Following an earlier hearing at the UK Intellectual Property Court in May 2018, the UK Trade Mark Office ruled in favour of Twisted; however, JLR lodged an appeal with the High Court against the decision. This appeal was rejected following a hearing in December 2018, when Mrs Justice Rose said the underlying assumption that everyone realised the initials ‘LR’ in LR Motors referred to Land Rover was merely an assertion by Jaguar, with no supporting evidence.

Despite the previous ruling, JLR lodged a second appeal but this too was rejected by the Court of Appeal on March 21 this year. The Rt Hon Justice Floyd stated that there were no new factual grounds for appeal, and that this was merely an attempt to re-argue a case that had failed previously.

Speaking after the decision, Charles Fawcett said: “We have worked hard to give the Defender a legacy befitting its status as a true icon of British motoring. The work of our team over the last two decades has helped boost the profile and demand for the Defender.”

Louise Handley of 3volution, Twisted’s legal advisers, added: “We are of course delighted with the outcome. Twisted has been extremely stoic throughout this lengthy process, many other businesses would have been put off. Regardless of the size of company or the resources available to them, this case highlights just what can be achieved by being tenacious and working smart.”    

A spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover said the company had no comment on the case,