Over the last few decades the double-glazing salesman have been the target for jokes and have had to put up with a good deal of criticism and negative stereotyping. Despite all this the industry is growing and there is clearly appetite for companies to get in on a slice of the action. No better is this illustrated than in the recent legal fight between two Bradford based companies, Safestyle UK and SafeGlaze UK. Safestyle which was established over 20 years ago was riled to see newcomer SafeGlaze adopt such a similar name and took action against its rival for passing off, misuse of confidential information and malicious falsehood. SafeGlaze which was set up by the historic founder of Safestyle only this year clearly posed a major threat to Safestyle. Although proceedings were launched the matter has been settled by a comprehensive settlement agreement which governs SafeGlaze’s rebranding and future behaviour including a prohibition on SafeGlaze against intimidating behaviour towards Safestyle representatives. It is agreed that any new name must be one which eliminates the risk of any confusion between the two companies.
While little detail of the settlement has been made public the facts that have been disclosed give an insight into just how threatening and damaging to the business of Safestyle the launch of SafeGlaze was. This is often the case where the rival business has the industry knowledge and experience to make a real success of the business as is often the case where the newcomer is set up by a former employee or owner (in this case the founder). Often the established business has to act quickly. Having found themselves in a court battle a settlement which gives both sides a commercial solution they can live with without the distraction and costs of court proceedings is always a positive. This is because these cases are often multi-layered and complex and hence costly to pursue. All businesses are at risk of this type of activity but the business best placed to deal with these threats well are those who have taken steps to protect intellectual property including their client database and which also have in place well prepared employment contracts restricting post-employment competition and threats of this sort.