Yorkshire law firm LCF Law has protected its Legal365 brand after a Danish legal practice management software company tried to register it as a European trademark.
Legal365.com was a joint venture between the firm and entrepreneur Ajaz Ahmed, the founder of Freeserve, and launched online in August 2011 providing automated document assembly.
There was an ambitious plan behind it to open a national network of city centre law shops, but this never happened, and the site has since evolved into a legal library, providing free answers to various legal questions.
However, the firm said it still has plans to develop the brand further.
LCF Law submitted detailed evidence to the EU Intellectual Property Office to demonstrate that the Danish company’s registration of Legal365 for IT services would adversely impact LCF Law’s and Legal365’s IP rights.
Partner James Sarjantson said proving that another company registering the name across Europe would be detrimental to LCF’s brand was not straightforward given how “significantly” the Legal365 service has changed over time.
“Our team worked very hard to systematically evidence the goodwill and distinctive character developed in that mark as a result of LCF Law’s extensive use of it.”
LCF managing partner Simon Stell told Legal Futures that “when we started to think about how we could deliver a new legal product, the legal industry was in a different place – and it’s now started to change”.
He continued: “Legal365 is a strong consumer and SME brand that we can use when we are ready.
“We’ve been doing lots of work in the background, exploring what people really want from the legal sector online and one of the things our research has shown is, people want ‘short answers to short questions’ so that’s going to be a focus.
“Retail could still be one of the solutions in the future, including technology like AI, algorithms, chatbots and apps, which will continue to change how law is delivered, and we are working hard on Legal365 to make sure it will provide the right solution now and in the future.”