Andersen Tax has achieved another legal victory in its determined and successful effort to protect the trademark rights in its iconic brand name, Andersen, in jurisdictions around the world.
In a settlement agreement this week, the Brazilian firm, MP Cont Sociedade Simples Ltda., agreed never to use the terms “Andersen,” Arthur Andersen,” or any mark incorporating the term “Andersen” (or any confusingly similar term) to promote its services anywhere in the world. The agreement resolves legal action that Andersen Tax filed before the Brazilian intellectual property authorities and other related disputes.
It is a another legal blow to a French firm, Arthur Andersen & Co., formerly named Quatre Juillet Maison Blanche, which illegally used the trademark Arthur Andersen to recruit and promote the Brazilian firm as part of an international accountancy, tax and business consultancy network.
“In blatant disregard for the law, the French infringers began promoting the Andersen brand for offices throughout Brazil, apparently without conducting any due-diligence investigation on Brazilian trademark rights,” said Oscar L. Alcantara, Managing Director and Associate Counsel at Andersen Tax. “Had they done so, they would have seen that Andersen Tax has had its filings in the intellectual property offices of Brazil for several years now.”
It is the third legal setback for the French entity. In early April, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California entered an injunction prohibiting the French network’s U.S.-affiliate MoHala Enterprises, doing business as Sundial Consulting, from using the terms “Andersen” or “Arthur Andersen” in the United States.
On April 28, 2017, the High Court of Judicature in Bombay, India imposed a permanent injunction against an Indian firm, International Business Associates (IBA), from using the terms “Andersen,” “Arthur Andersen,” and confusingly similar trademarks to promote its professional services consultancy.
The Indian court also handed down a preliminary injunction against the French entity, Arthur Andersen & Co., temporarily prohibiting it from promoting its consultancy services in India. IBA had aligned itself with the French firm as an affiliate member of its network in India.
“We have now successfully enforced our rights to the Andersen name and precluded the French firm from violating our legal rights on three different continents,” said Mark Vorsatz, CEO and Managing Director at Andersen Tax.
“I feel sorry for those individuals or groups who have been misled and may have paid fees to the French firm for the use of a name which we own,” Vorsatz said.
Andersen Tax now has settlement agreements or injunctions against infringers in the U.S., India and Brazil. The French entity, Arthur Andersen & Co., misrepresented its global presence on its website.
In addition to listing a Houston, Texas address that did not exist, the site lists four locations in the U.S. where Arthur Andersen & Co. has no office, no firm and no representation. It is similar in Brazil and India where the French website lists seven locations where they have no office, firm or representation. In Dubai, Andersen Tax was informed that the French network was not authorized to use the name of the local firm they listed on their website.
“I think that this group has been exposed for what they are. We will continue to aggressively pursue actions against this group and enforce our legal rights,” Vorsatz said. “For all of the partners and employees of Andersen Tax, and for all of those who had worked at Arthur Andersen, we have every commitment to prosecute our rights against this attempt to take advantage of the Andersen brand.”
MP Cont Sociedade Simples Ltda., the Brazilian firm, also agreed to dissolve a legal entity it had established called “Arthur Andersen & Co Brazil Participações Ltda.”; to transfer domain names that incorporate the term Andersen to Andersen Tax LLC; to withdraw trademark applications for the marks Arthur Andersen & Co. and Arthur Andersen Co. LLC from the Brazilian intellectual property office; and acknowledges that Andersen Tax LLC is the owner of the “Andersen” trademarks in Brazil, including the marks Andersen Tax, Andersen Global, Arthur Andersen, and its iconic Door logo.
The Agreement is signed by Vitor Saldanha, the individual that Quatre Juillet had identified as the “Managing Partner – South America” of its purported network.
In another blow to the French entity, last week the Japanese Trademark Office issued a final rejection of Quatre Juillet’s application to register the mark Arthur Andersen because it conflicted with Andersen Tax’s rightful registration.