Broxbourne March 20 Principal Litigation 600x100

Broxbourne March 20 Senior Property 600x100

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NHS trust infringed trade mark owned by consultancy, court rules

An NHS trust infringed a consultancy’s trade mark in its promotion of mental health services, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court has ruled.

In APT Training & Consultancy Ltd & Anor v Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust [2019] EWHC 19 (IPEC), HHJ Melissa Clarke upheld claims by APT Training & Consultancy and its director Dr William Davies against Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust.

APT had trade marked the word RAID in respect of services relating to psychology, behavioural problems, business and commerce.

RAID in this context stands for 'Reinforce Appropriate, Implode Destructive', and is used in training courses intended to provide positive support for tackling challenging behaviour at source.

The trust had provided services using the RAID name but to stand for 'Rapid Assessment Interface and Discharge’, which it described as “a new model for patient assessment and discharge for individuals experiencing severe mental health crises and trauma who attend at hospitals, including those presenting to accident and emergency”.

It accepted it had used Dr Davies’ sign but denied this amounted to an infringement of registered trade marks or passing off as the service was different.

Dr Davies told the court he learnt by chance of the trust’s use of RAID and that his consultancy had “spent a considerable amount of time and effort building up its reputation” using the RAID title.

He said the trust was using the RAID name to provide courses ”at a lower level than [his] which concerned him as he thought it risked his RAID methodology as provided on the RAID Courses appearing to provide a less significant intervention than it is”.

The judge ruled that she was “satisfied on the balance of probabilities that there is a likelihood of confusion.”

She said the trust’s use of APT’s RAID trademark and name in relation to its service “would cause the average consumer to believe that they come from the claimants or that they are economically linked to the claimants” and found there was infringement.

Mark Smulian