Who's Suing Whom: Clothing company takes action against All Saints

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The Independent Online
ALL SAINTS, a company which makes designer clothes, is taking legal action against the popular girl band of the same name. The company wants to stop the band from selling clothes with the brand name "All Saints" on their upcoming world tour.

Stuart Trevor set up All Saints as a wholesale and retail clothing business five years ago in London, and registered the name as the company's trademark at the same time.

The pop group, consisting of Nicole Appleton, Natalie Appleton, Melanie Blatt and Shaznay Lewis, came together in 1997. The clothing company says that it tried to reach an agreement with the band's merchandising firm, De-lux, over use of the name last year but failed. Now the clothing company is seeking an injunction.

A VIOLINIST who used to appear under the name Bobby Valentino is claiming that he helped to write the pop song "Young at Heart", a hit for The Bluebells in 1983. The copyright to the song remains valuable, as the song enjoyed a revival five years ago after it was used in a car ad.

Robert Beckingham, of Tressilian Road, Brockley, London, has taken legal action in an attempt to get the courts to recognise his share of the copyright.

He has issued a writ against the two members of the band who have always been credited with the song, Robert Hodgens and Siobhan Maire Stewart, or Siobhan Fahey as she was in 1983, before she married David Stewart of The Eurythmics.

Ms Stewart was a member of Bananarama in the 1970s, then joined the Scottish- based Bluebells, and subsequently formed Shakespears Sister in the 1980s.

The song made Mr Hodgens and Ms Stewart a windfall of pounds 50,000 each in 1993 after it was used in a TV ad for Volkswagen. Mr Beckingham is seeking damages against the two band members for breach of copyright. He is also suing four music companies, including Polygram, over the copyright to the song.

THE HIGH COURT in London is expected to rule this week, possibly as early as today, on the latest round between James Dyson, inventor of the Dyson bagless vacuum cleaner, and Electrolux, which objects to the way he describes Electrolux's products in his advertising.

The row goes back many years and was prompted by Mr Dyson's claim in his ads that traditional vacuum cleaners suffer a 50 per cent drop in suction when their bags clog up.

Dyson and Electrolux went to court last December, and at the end of January Mr Justice Jonathan Parker ruled that Dyson Appliances had been guilty of "exaggerated and misleading" advertising claims. The judge stopped short, however, of ordering changes to the ads.

This month Electrolux launched another action, aimed at Dyson's use of Kaolin powder in its testing of its vacuum cleaner. Electrolux claims that kaolin powder is "nothing like ordinary house dust" and grossly exaggerates the clogging effect of dust on its machines.

MORE THAN 600 investors in a property trust in Telford have taken legal action against the trust's joint sponsors after the properties owned by the trust fell in value from pounds 30m to under pounds 10m in just five years.

The Telford Trust Action Group is suing Johnson Fry and Richard Ellis after the two properties bought by the "Laser Richmond (Telford) Trust 1991/2" were revalued. The trust is an enterprise zone property trust set up in 1992 to buy the Plaza Tower and Plaza Court in Telford.

The trust paid pounds 30,244,000 for the buildings and more than 900 investors subscribed for units in the trust, for the same total. The properties were revalued in September 1997 by DTZ Debenham Thorpe, the chartered surveyor, at just pounds 9,260,000.

The action group is claiming that the joint sponsors failed to take "reasonable care" to ensure that all the facts in the marketing material for the scheme were true and accurate. They are particularly angry about the prospectus, which they say encouraged higher-rate tax payers to expect substantial tax benefits. In the event, they say, the unit values were so low that there was no tax benefit at all.

Brian Woodward, chairman of the action group, said the scheme was "highly speculative and grossly overpriced".

Both Johnson Fry and Richard Ellis are intending to defend themselves against the legal action. A spokeswoman for Johnson Fry said: "The price paid was based on advice provided to us by the valuers at the time, Grimley JR Eve, in 1992."

The spokeswoman also denied the risks were not made clear to investors. "Enterprise trusts are known as a high risk venture, normally as a tax shelter. People would only invest in them after advice."