Sofaworks - dispute over brand name

Member Article

Furniture brand face-off may force name-change

Sofaworks, the Wigan-based furniture firm, may be forced to change its brand name after losing a legal dispute with rivals DFS.

According to a ruling by the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, the Sofaworks name infringes DFS’s own ‘Sofa Workshop’ brand.

Established in 1984 and originally called CSL, the family owned firm rebranded as Sofaworks in December 2013, having first acquired the name in 1996 but not registering it as a trademark until September 2013.

The company has reported a turnover of more than £100 million.

DFS bought the upmarket Sofa Workshop brand in October 2013 and said at the time the acquisition would help it target a new customer segment.

A DFS spokeswoman said: “We’re pleased that Sofa Workshop has been successful in its action against Sofaworks with regards to passing off. Sofa Workshop is a small, quality brand that has been established since 1985 and we’re happy the outcome allows the brand name to remain protected.”

Sofaworks Chief Executive Jason Tyldesley said he is yet to decide whether to appeal against the ruling or change the brand name.

He said: “If we want to fight on principle then we will appeal and do so with venom. Whatever we do we will carry on doing what is right for the customer.”

He added that he was surprised that DFS had won the case based on a passing-off ruling because he believes there was no evidence of customers accidentally buying products from the wrong brand or going to the wrong store.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Simon Malia .

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