Richard Brindle’s London-based carrier Fidelis has triumphed in a trademark case brought by Fidelity in which the Boston-based investment house claimed consumers would conflate the two businesses over similarities in their names.
In the UK High Court yesterday (14 May) Justice Arnold found that contrary to Fidelity’s claims that the Lloyd’s carrier had taken “unfair advantage” of its reputation, the firm had been built on the “personal reputations of Mr Brindle and his colleagues”.
During a four day trial, Fidelity had claimed that Fidelis had infringed on three of its EU and three UK trademarks and had attempted to “pass off” its business as linked to the activities of the investment firm .
The Boston company’s only activities in any way linked to the risk carrying industry are its pension-structured insurance products, and Fidelis vigorously defended its position throughout the case, bringing counterclaims against Fidelity for “declarations of invalidity on the grounds of lack of clarity and precision and bad faith”.
In his testimony during the case Brindle revealed he had opted to name his company Fidelis on a walk with his dog Phenney because a Latin name “does impart a sense of gravitas” and Fidelis “encapsulates values such as trust, loyalty and faithfulness”.
The executive is intimately familiar with the range of such names, having studied the classical language through his Literae Humaniores (Greats) degree while an undergraduate at Oxford.
Both companies share the common root of the Latin fides, which means faith, while fidelis itself its the advejectical form of the word meaning faithful, according to Merriam-Webster.
Meanwhile the word which granted Fidelity its moniker stems from the Middle French fidelité.
On its website Fidelity describes itself as providing “world class investment solutions and retirement expertise to institutions, individuals and their advisers”.
Fidelis on the other hand boasts of its “tailored responses to a broad range of established insurance needs and using our specialist underwriting expertise to help brokers and clients manage emerging challenges”.