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Sir Robert McAlpine v Alfred McAlpine

[2004] EWHC 630 (Ch)

Case summary last updated at 02/02/2020 21:17 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Sir Robert McAlpine v Alfred McAlpine

C and D were both derived from an original company founded by Sir Robert McAlpine. After his death, two companies divided on geographical lines into separate companies. In 2001, D decided to rebrand itself as ‘McAlpine’ and drop word ‘Alfred’ from name. C sued for passing off, claiming that D was misrepresenting it was associated with C so that:
i)                 any bad publicity associated with D would reflect upon C; and 
ii)               D would benefit from C’s goodwill and would be trading on the joint goodwill of the 2 parties, causing a dilution in value of C’s goodwill.
Held:
 
·        Is a misrepresentation by D.
1)     Loss of control of reputation: is a real riskthat D’s actions in future will damage C’s goodwill; e.g.:
-        any noteworthy engineering mishap
-        any work that attracts public anger
2)     dilution: deception caused by loss of prefix ‘Alfred’ by D would cause a dilutionin value of C’s name.

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