Large corporations often intimidate small businesses with similar names into giving up their trademarked identity, according to Eve Brown, practitioner in residence for the Law School’s Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic.

Brown is working with law students to challenge a dispute involving the Nautica clothing company and Nautigirl, a small Washington state-based business selling products related to boating.

The case is chronicled in the Bellingham Herald news story “Trademark battle snares Bellingham company in David vs. Goliath fight.”

The story quotes Brown at length:

"'This case is about closing down an existing business,' Brown said. 'It's something that has become economically rational for a (big) company. …I would say 9 out of 10 businesses just give up. Small businesses haven't been able to argue that strongly because of the lack of resources.'"

Brown estimates that work performed thus far by Suffolk Law students on behalf of Nautigirl would bill at more than $100,000.

See the full story and an opinion poll on the Nautica-Nautigirl case.

More on the clinic’s role in the Nautigirl case