Wednesday, 6 May 2009

And the price of your own name is . . . .?

Fashionista has learnt that Amanda Wakeley sold her remaining share in the Amanda Wakeley brand in December 2008 - only to buy it again 4 months later for an estimated £1 million. The brand was sold last year to Arvoco, which has sinced worked to restructure the company. Amanda Wakeley now has full control of the business - and of the intellectual property in her eponymous brand - for the first time in 10 years.

Fashionista sees this as a lucky return and is all too aware of the pitfalls to designers developing their names into well known brands and then losing control of their names - especially when, as a fashion designer, your name is such a large part of who you are and what you do. Elizabeth Emanuel - famed for designing Princess Diana's wedding dress - knows of such pitfalls only too well. After assigning the goodwill and rights to her name in 1996, Elizabeth Emanuel subsequently sought to oppose a trade mark application for "Elizabeth Emanuel" by the eventual assignee. The issue was referred to the ECJ, which rightly concluded that Elizabeth Emanuel's opposition could not stand because, if it could, assignments of goodwill and intellectual property would effectively become meaningless.

The moral of the story? Treat assingments cautiously and be careful as to what rights you are giving away to your name, particularly when your name is such a fundamental part of what you do and how you are known in your industry. Fashionista would certainly be cross if her name were attributed to a style, trend or item of clothing which she didn't particularly like or want to endorse and congratulates Ms Wakeley on once again being able to control how her name is used.