Property Renaissance, which owns the Titanic Spa in Huddersfield, claimed in the High Court that the Liverpool hotel had infringed its trade mark by opening a spa called the T-Spa.
In a 15,000-worded legal judgement, Mr Justice Carr agreed however said that steps already taken by the Liverpool venue meant there should be no confusion between the two businesses in future.
The Titanic Spa in Huddersfield opened in 2006 in a former textile mill that, because of its size, was known as Titanic Mills, and registered the name Titanic Spa as a trade mark in 2011.
In 2014, Stanley Dock Properties, owned by Belfast property developer Pat Doherty, opened the huge Titanic Hotel at Stanley Dock, which included a spa which it called T-Spa.
The court was told that when the Liverpool hotel opened, Titanic Spa in Huddersfield began receiving calls and emails from customers who were mistakenly confusing the Titanic Hotel Liverpool, believing it was part of the same operation and connected to the Titanic spa, resulting in a legal challenge to protect its business.
In December 2014, the Liverpool scheme was re-named “the Spa” and earlier this year it was named the “Maya Blue Spa.”
However, Mr Justice Carr said the Titanic Huddersfield still took action claiming that use of the word Titanic in the hotel name was a breach of their trade mark, and ruled that there had been infringement of the Titanic Spa trade mark as a result of the Liverpool hotel operation, however added that steps already taken to change the name and further steps proposed would avoid the probability of future confusion.
Mr Justice Carr upheld Property Renaissance’s claim that there had been ‘passing off’ of their name Titanic Spa in the past. But he said that in view of the changes already made and proposed there would be no further ‘passing off’ of it in the future, and also decided there was no need for ban Stanley Dock Properties from using the word Titanic, saying they were “legitimately entitled” to use the signs ‘Titanic Quarter’ and ‘Titanic Quarter Hotel Liverpool’ in relation to hotels in the UK.
He also rejected a claim by those behind the Liverpool operation that the Huddersfield operation’s use of the name Titanic Spa had in fact breached its trade marks.
The judge added that both sides had valuable businesses and the “very high risk litigation” put in jeopardy the goodwill they had both built up.
Titanic Spa’s Director of Operations Amy Burton said: “The decision to go to court was not one we took lightly. We are well known in the industry and have no fear of healthy competition but we couldn’t stand by and allow our brand to be diluted in this way.