• Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust taken to court by training company
  • Trust denies breaching trademark over name of specialist service
  • Losing party must pay £100,000 in legal fees

A mental health trust has been taken to court after being accused of breaching a trademark over its name for a specialist service.

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust risks having to pay £100,000 in legal costs if it loses the case, against APT Training, over its use of the name RAID.

The name, which stands for Rapid, Assessment, Interface and Discharge, was given to a specialist multi-disciplinary mental health service run by the trust in 2009.

But APT (Association of Psychological Therapies) Training, a Leicestershire-based training company, says that breached its trademark.

The company has provided training for a mental health treatment called Reinforce Appropriate (behaviour), Implode Disruptive since 1990, which is aimed at people displaying disturbed and challenging behaviour.

William Davies, chief executive of APT Training, told HSJ he had taken legal action because he was concerned about losing business as a result of the trust adopting the name for its service.

“It’s not right that a big organisation should go trampling over people’s trademark just because they feel they can,” he added.

Legal fees for the case have been capped at £50,000 for each party, but the losing organisation must pay the other’s costs.

According to papers filed with the Intellectual Property Court, APT Training alleges the trust has used “in the course of trade” the RAID name in a way which contravenes the function of the trademark. 

“Because of such identity or similarity there exists a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, including the likelihood of association,” the papers state.

The company alleges its RAID programme’s reputation could be “tarnished” if it is associated with mental health services that are “not of a high quality”.

APT Training highlighted the issue in December 2016, but the trust has refused to change the name of its service.

Mr Davies said: “We met with the trust and suggested they rename it RAPID, with the ‘P’ standing for ‘Planning’, but they didn’t want to change the name.

“The problem is that if someone, for example, searches for RAID online they will get confused because both ours and the trust’s programmes appear.

“Some people contact us to ask about the difference, but we’re worried about those people who don’t get in touch.

“We have been going for 37 years and never had to take anyone to court before.”

A spokeswoman said the trust would not comment while the legal process was ongoing.

In its defence to the court, the trust said its use of the name was a “private matter” and “does not take place in the context of commercial activity with a view to economic advantage”.

It also argued that the mental health services it provides are not similar to the goods and services covered by the trademark.

The court’s judgment is expected in the next few months.

The trust’s RAID team won the “Best Innovation in Mental Health” at the 2010 HSJ Awards.