There are several issues here which include:
The trading name.
Their net worth.
They cannot register a trade mark of a trading name already used
by someone else and expect the law to uphold them using it particularly, if you
have already been using it for many years prior to that.
I think if they went to court on this, ultimately (I emphasise the
word "ultimately") they would lose.
Unfortunately, if they are worth that amount of money, and they
decide to take you to court, even though ultimately, you might win by virtue of
the fact you have been trading for years, it could be an expensive exercise to
get there. I would check your business insurance to see if you have legal
expenses cover that would pay for any litigation.
There is the issue of passing off your business is theirs and
whether your trading style is so close to their trading style that the average
man in the street would be confused. That is nothing to do with the Trade Mark
and to be honest, it is also nothing to do with the fact that you have now been
trading for 10 years and they have been trading for 12 years so in that respect,
you are not on good ground unless they have manipulated their trading style to
make it like yours so that they could then remove you from the market in
passing off action. That would come down to historic evidence.
It really comes down to how important the use of these names is to
If it is not that important, I would get a solicitor to write to
them telling them that you agree to stop using it without making any admission
that you are in any way liable for anything. At this stage in time, I wouldn't
be giving any of the information they have asked for because at this stage in
time, they are not entitled to it. I would then see what happens.
If it is important, you could have an expensive legal battle which
ultimately you might win and if you do win you would get your costs back from
them but it could be expensive to get there
Does that answer the question?
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