Long road to Advantage decision

Advantage Computers boss Mark Ward is very happy to see the end to the long-running dispute with Advantage Group over the use of the 'Advantage' trademark.

Advantage Computers boss Mark Ward is pleased to see the end to the long-running dispute with Advantage Group over the use of the "Advantage" trademark.

"I'm very happy that our position was further reinforced with the appeal decision." Ward says.

Advantage Group had appealed an earlier court ruling that said it had infringed on Advantage Computers' trademarks. The Court of Appeal upheld the original ruling and Advantage Group will now have to reconsider its use of the name wherever the two companies' business models overlap.

Ward says he isn't concerned that the case, which was originally lodged in October 1999, has taken so long to reach a conclusion.

"You don't want to hold your breath, but to be fair it was a complicated matter and there was a lot of evidence. The new style of doing things where everything is presented and laid out before the parties get to a hearing is going to take a fair amount of time."

Ward says Advantage Computers did not ask Advantage Group to change its name completely - just to not use it for trading in areas where the companies both operate.

"This was really to have our trademarks enforced and this is an issue of compliance from them moving forward."

Advantage Group MD Tony Bradley says he is disappointed in the ruling however the company will immmediately work to put the required name changes in place

"In the past we have acquired a number of companies that kept their original branding."

Bradley says it shouldn't disrupt business too much to make the changes where Advantage Group overlaps with Advantage Computers' business.

"It doesn't change our trading activities - it's a branding issue rather than a substance issue. We've still got the same products, the same people and the same customers. It's a communications thing really."

The judge in the original verdict ruled that Advantage Computers could seek recompense from Advantage Group.

"There are two avenues open to us - one is an enquiry as to damages or an account for profit," says Advantage Computers' Ward.

Ward says no decision has been made yet as to which direction the company will take. He hopes that will be made in the next few days.

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