12 October 2020TrademarksSarah Morgan

Barclays claims cybersquatters using ‘Lehman Brothers’ TMs

Financial services company Barclays has accused a group of using the ‘Lehman Brothers’ trademarks to operate a fake website offering fraudulent financial services.

Barclays, in a suit filed on Friday, October 9, at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, accused Vladimir Sklarov and his team of purporting to offer financial services under ‘Lehman Brothers’ and ‘Shearson Lehman’.

After investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in 2008, Barclays acquired many of the Lehman Brothers’ businesses and assets, including the company’s trademarks. Barclays then licensed back these marks to Lehman Brothers.

“While the Lehman names and marks had become household names prior to 2008, Lehman Brothers’ financial troubles and bankruptcy in 2008 made the Lehman names and marks some of the most ubiquitous monikers thereafter,” said the suit.

Because of this strong consumer recognition, several third parties have allegedly attempted to misappropriate the Lehman names and marks as their own.

Barclays accused Sklarov of being the apparent ‘ring-leader’ of the “fraudulent scheme to impersonate Lehman Brothers”, claiming that he has directed and controlled most if not all of the unlawful actions described in the suit.

It added that a federal court had recently enjoined Sklarov against impersonating the financial services firm Rothschild & Co. Sklarov is also reportedly involved in a “similar scheme to defraud consumers by impersonating the former financial services firm Bear Stearns”, added Barclays.

According to the suit, Barclays has demanded the defendants cease and desist multiple times, but they have “increased their unlawful activities and doubled down on their efforts to deceive consumers and to pass themselves off as affiliated with the legitimate Lehman Brothers”.

The suit added: “Given Sklarov’s history of criminal and civil fraud lawsuits and defendants’ blatant disregard for the IP rights of third parties, consumers and the public at large are at a significant risk not only of likely confusion that defendants are associated or affiliated with Lehman Brothers, but also that they will be defrauded by defendants in their purported financial dealings.”

In the 75-page complaint, Barclays has asked the court for an injunction against the group, a transfer of the domain name, and the withdrawal of any infringing trademark applications.

Earlier this month, WIPR reported that the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board had refused to allow UK company Tiger Lily Ventures register ‘Lehman Brothers’ as a trademark for whiskey, following opposition from Barclays.

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More on this story

5 October 2020   The US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has refused to allow UK company Tiger Lily Ventures register ‘Lehman Brothers’ as a trademark for whiskey, following opposition from Barclays.
1 October 2020   Bloomberg Finance has agreed to settle a lawsuit against UBS over claims the Swiss investment bank misused proprietary financial data.
1 December 2020   The World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Mediation Center has registered its 50,000th cybersquatting case, as the COVID-19 pandemic drives up cases.