Andersen Tax has notched another win in its legal battle against a French rival that announced this year it had reconstituted the Arthur Andersen network with offices opening around the world.
Andersen Tax was established by a group of former Andersen partners after they acquired the rights to the brand worldwide and changed the name of their firm from WTAS in 2014. However, this past March, a French company formerly known as Quatre Juillet Maison Blanche (French for “Fourth of July White House”) announced it had rebuilt the former Big Five accounting firm network in 16 countries (see Firms vie over rights to Arthur Andersen name). Andersen Tax filed suit and succeeded in getting the firms that had joined in the U.S. and India to drop the Arthur Andersen name (see ‘Reconstituted’ Arthur Andersen closes U.S. offices amid trademark infringement suit and ‘Arthur Andersen’ loses legal battle in India). This week it won a legal victory in Brazil. In a settlement agreement, the Brazilian firm MP Cont Sociedade Simples Ltda., agreed not to use the terms “Andersen,” Arthur Andersen,” or any mark incorporating the term “Andersen” to promote its services anywhere in the world. The agreement resolves legal action that Andersen Tax filed before Brazil’s intellectual property authorities and some related disputes.
“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 Andersen Tax managing director and associate counsel Oscar L. Alcantara in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
Stéphane Laffont-Réveilhac, global managing partner of Arthur Andersen, and a spokesperson for his firm did not immediately respond to requests for comment. After setbacks in the U.S., India and now Brazil, his firm seems to be focusing its efforts on Europe now. In a LinkedIn post last Friday, Laffont-Réveilhac announced his firm has set up its worldwide headquarters on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. “The new office space allows us to support the rapid growth of our network, in perfect harmony with our overall strategy of excellence and our historic work values,” he wrote. “This is a very positive signal to all clients, contacts, professionals, our employees and affiliated members throughout the world.”
Andersen Tax pointed out Tuesday that it now has settlement agreements or injunctions in the U.S., India and Brazil, and claimed the French entity, Arthur Andersen & Co., misrepresented its global presence on its website. Along with listing a Houston, Texas address that didn’t exist, the site lists four locations in the U.S. where Arthur Andersen & Co. has no office, no firm and no representation. In Brazil and India, too, the French website lists seven locations where there’s no office, firm or representation. In Dubai, Andersen Tax said it was informed that the French network was not authorized to use the name of the local firm listed on the website.
“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 Andersen Tax CEO and managing director Mark Vorsatz in a statement. “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. 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. 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.”
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