SWX in virt-x trademark dispute - Reuters

SWX in virt-x trademark dispute - Reuters

British software house Oxford Virtual Markets (OVM) is accusing the Swiss stock exchange of "misappropriating" the trademark to its electronic trading platform Virtex, in a case that could lead to a claim for millions of pounds against the exchange, according to a report by Reuters.

The report, which cites legal documents seen by Reuters, says that SWX is accused by OVM of "acting in bad faith" for registering the virt-x trademark in the knowledge that it was owned by OVM.

The Swiss exchange uses the name virt-x for its own electronic market. But before adopting this name, OVM says it had met with SWX to talk about a joint venture. The discussions began in 1998 and ended in April 1999, according to the documents.

According to people familiar with the matter, it was agreed that the trademark "Virtex" and related technology was owned by OVM and its wholly owned subsidiary, Advanced Transaction Systems (ATS).

But SWX did not form the joint venture and began to use a trademark that OVM claims is similar enough to its own to cause confusion, according to the legal documents.

OVM is accusing the Swiss exchange of breach of contract and bad faith for registering the trademark as virt-x in the knowledge that it was owned by the UK firm. The vendor argues that the use of the trademark is likely to confuse financial markets participants and have a direct effect on "business goodwill".

The report says that if the UK's Trade Marks Registry does not reach an agreement with the two parties, OVM will take SWX to the High Court in London to try and recoup millions of pounds in lost earnings it claims it could have made through exploiting the name.

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