Brit had contested British Insurance's use of term 'British' would 'damage brand'

Brit Insurance has backed down in a legal claim against broker British Insurance over allegations that the broker had infringed its trademark copyright by using the word British in its name.

The insurer had argued that by using the name British Insurance the broker would damage Brit's reputation.

In documents seen by Insurance Times, Brit Insurance's company secretary Peter Goddard cites two policies offered by British Insurance – both covered extensively in the press.

Goddard's statement reads: "The insurance includes a policy offering nuns cover in case of immaculate conception and policy to cover against the trauma of England being eliminated from the World Cup."

But British Insurance argued that it had secured the approval of the word British from the government, and that the name Brit did not derive from the word British.

Simon Burgess, managing director of Brit Insurance, said in his legal submission: "The decision to develop this name into a primary brand arose after the company had established a dominant position in the insurance industry in relation to payment protection insurance which enables me to secure approval for the use of the word 'British' from the secretary of state."

Furthermore, Burgess highlighted that: "It is well known within the industry that Brit chose that word because it is an acronym for the 'Benfield & Rea Investment Trust' rather than because it is a derivative of the word British."

Burgess added: "It seems to me that to allow Brit to succeed in this invalidity app-lication would be to provide them with monopoly rights to the word British, being a non-distinctive word used by numerous companies within the insurance field. Such a situation is clearly untenable."

Brit has now decided to abandon its claim. In a letter Brit said the matter would no longer be pursued, with each side bearing its own costs.

Brit Insurance refused to comment.