he owner of one of London’s most famous hotels has asked a judge to jail a 64-year-old divorced woman for infringing a trademark.
Lawyers for Claridge’s Hotel Ltd said on Monday that Denise Shepherd, who ran a business called Claridge Candles Ltd, was in contempt of court.
They urged Judge John Kimbell to give her a suspended prison sentence because she failed to comply with an order from another judge who ruled she had infringed a trademark owned by the hotel company.
I don’t think the people who bought my candles would be the kind of people who would stay at Claridge’s. As someone told me, it was a ‘Goliath vs. David’ battle
Judge Kimbell, who oversaw a High Court hearing in London, said he would review the case at a date to be set.
Solicitors representing Claridge’s, in Mayfair, brought legal action against Claridge Candles and Ms Shepherd more than three years ago.
They accused Ms Shepherd of trademark infringement, an allegation she disputed, with a judge ruling in their favour.
Recorder Douglas Campbell was told Mrs Shepherd, who lives at Claridge Court, Hempstead, Gillingham, was the sole owner of the candle company, which had an address at a business park in Folkestone, Kent.
He ruled that people could believe Claridge Candles was connected to the hotel.
Claridge’s “infringement action” and “imitation action” had been successful, the judge said, ruling that Ms Shepherd was “personally liable” for the “acts charged”.
My client has no desire to see Mrs. Shepherd given a custodial sentence or a fine. There was no compliance with the order at all
A lawyer representing Claridge’s told Judge Kimbell on Monday that Recorder Campbell had ordered Ms Shepherd not to infringe the mark, nor “pass off” wares such as Claridge’s Hotel, and to destroy all goods in his possession “bearing the mark” Claridge.
Georgina Messenger said Ms Shepherd had failed to comply and argued a ‘suspended custodial sentence’ was warranted,
She said that, ‘in view of Ms Shepherd’s continued and willful refusal to comply’, Claridge’s had ‘had no choice’ but to file a committal request.
‘My client has no desire to see Mrs Shepherd given a custodial sentence or a fine,’ she added.
“There was no respect for order.”
Ms Shepherd said she would try to find a lawyer to represent her.
After the hearing, she stated that she had ceased her activities and was not working.
Ms Shepherd said she made candles and sold them online.
The name “Claridge” comes from her address, she said.
She said she inserted the image of a candle instead of an “I” into the word “Claridge” on her logo.
“I don’t think the people who bought my candles would be the kind of people who would stay at Claridge’s,” she said.
“As someone told me, it was a ‘Goliath vs. David’ battle.”