InsurTech startup, Marshmallow, a tech-first insurance company that’s focused on improving the financial well-being of people who live in a foreign country, today announced its victory over broker giant Marsh and their attempt to block the use of its name.
In the David v Goliath dispute over the trademark, Marsh had laid claim to the word Marshmallow, which was the name chosen by founder entrepreneurs and twin brothers Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham for their London-based startup.
The twins, who spent thousands of pounds defending their name, tried to settle with Marsh without resorting to the time and expense of an IPO legal ruling, but with no agreement from Marsh they were forced to fight on and follow a legal route.
In the IPO judgment the government’s intellectual property office ruled that members of the public are perfectly 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. 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 gained FCA approval and has insurance veteran and former Zurich Chief Underwriting Officer Tim Holliday on its board, has built a proprietary rating matrix to improve car insurance prices for foreign drivers - a segment of the market that often pays 50% more than the average UK driver. They are launching their product in the next few months.