IP Information & News

Brand protection for END. — from start-up to multimillion-pound acquisition

Ian Byworth

By Ian Byworth

Partner

From modest start-up to multimillion-pound acquisition in just over 15 years, our longstanding client END. has been on an incredible journey. Its recent acquisition demonstrates the immense value in a brand and why it’s so important to protect yours — your most valuable asset — early on. You never know where your path might lead…

Here’s an overview of how trade mark protection has helped END. grow at pace around the world while fending off copycats and competitors.

END. and UDL Intellectual Property

END. was originally established as a single shop in Newcastle upon Tyne, selling contemporary niche menswear brands such as Comme des Garcon, Folk and Stone Island. Due to its early focus on digital sales, thanks to its innovative website, END. has been able to rapidly expand worldwide to become one of the UK’s leading contemporary menswear retailers. This success has resulted in a multimillion-pound acquisition deal from the international investment group Carlyle, with a valuation of £750 million.

We’ve worked with END. since 2013, helping to secure its brand and establish a global IP portfolio.

In the beginning, there were trade marks

Registered trade marks are protected for the goods and services on which the mark is used in the course of trade. There are 45 classes of goods and services in the International classification system known as the Nice Classification.

As a retailer, it was recognised early on that protection would be required in class 35 of the Nice Classification for both online sales and physical retail from END.’s sites in Newcastle, Glasgow and London (Soho). We advised END. on a global filing programme for the END. trade mark in class 35 — up to now, END. has obtained trade mark protection in 52 countries around the world.

Growing END.'s IP portfolio

As the brand developed, END. began collaborations with leading designers, as well as clothing and footwear brands, in the ‘END. x’ collaboration series. To strengthen END.’s trade mark portfolio, we advised that protection should be extended to cover class 25 of the Nice Classification for clothing, footwear and headgear.

The benefits of such registered trade mark protection have enabled END. to prevent competitors from attempting to ride on its brand. An example of this is when a US-based website (endclothingco.com) appeared, selling menswear and advertising through Instagram and Twitter. Thanks to the strength of its trade mark protection, END. was able to avoid costly litigation in the US and take down the infringing social media accounts using the IP dispute policies of Instagram and Twitter. This resulted in the website operator agreeing to remove its domain and cease the use of any END. trade marks for retailing.

Endless potential

The acquisition by Carlyle and END.’s subsequent company valuation underlines the value in a brand and why it’s so important to both protect yours with registered trade marks. It also shows why it’s essential to continually reassess whether the protection you have obtained is sufficient to cover all aspects of your business while it expands.

To find out more about trade mark protection and how we can support you on your journey, get in touch with me at ijb@udl.co.uk.

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