Marsh's case against Marshmallow melts


Insurtech startup Marshmallow has won a legal dispute from broker Marsh over the use of its name.

In the David versus Goliath dispute over the trademark, Marsh laid claim to the word Marshmallow, which was the name chosen by founders Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham for their London-based startup.

The founders tried to settle with Marsh without resorting to an Intellectual Property Office Legal ruling, but with no agreement from Marsh they were forced to pursue legal action.

In the IPO judgment the government’s intellectual property office ruled that members of the public are capable of distinguishing between a Marshmallow “a soft, sweet food” and a Marsh “a muddy area of land” and that the two names conveyed “very different conceptual messages”.

The Kent-Brahams were awarded a contribution towards costs. it is understood that Marsh has no plans to appeal.

“It was the principle,” said Oliver Kent-Braham. “There is a huge amount of insurtech innovation in the UK at the moment. We believe that this is a good thing for consumers and should be supported not stifled by large incumbents like Marsh.

“Unfortunately, in this instance, a huge global company tried to use their wealth and resources to squash Marshmallow before we’d even started. Fortunately, the IPO office saw sense and ruled in our favour, we are, naturally delighted by the outcome, it’s a sweet victory.”

Marshmallow, which has insurance veteran and former Zurich chief underwriting officer Tim Holliday on its board, aims to bring together both traditional and non-traditional insurance products to migrant people.

The company said it would be launching a motor insurance product in the next few months.

Marsh declined to comment.  

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