NEWS: Joseph drops Hutchison High Court battle after settlement

Hook Advertising’s Chris Joseph has abandoned his multi-million pound lawsuit against Barclays Bank and the Hutchison telecommunications giant after one of the most bitter disputes in British advertising history.

Hook Advertising’s Chris Joseph has abandoned his multi-million pound

lawsuit against Barclays Bank and the Hutchison telecommunications giant

after one of the most bitter disputes in British advertising history.



In statements issued this week, all sides said they had reached a

settlement of all outstanding claims, heading off a High Court hearing

scheduled for this summer.



The agreements bring down the curtain on the five-year legal wrangle

that followed Hook’s dismissal from the pounds 4 million Rabbit account

in August 1991.



Last year, the dispute resulted in a landmark victory for agencies

despite Mrs Justice Arden ruling in Hutchison’s favour and against

Joseph’s claim to own the Rabbit logo. At the same time, she established

a legal precedent preventing clients from claiming copyright on work

presented speculatively to them (Campaign, 5 January).



The row with Barclays revolved around the bank’s role as Hook’s client

and banker when the dispute over the logo’s ownership arose.



Barclays, together with Philips and Shell, formed a consortium called

BYPS to operate the Rabbit mobile-phone system. Hook was appointed to

handle Rabbit’s advertising in May 1989.



Two years later the consortium abandoned Rabbit. The BYPS shares were

bought by Barclays, which then sold them to the Hong Kong-based

Hutchison Telecom.



When Joseph declined to assign copyright of the logo to Hutchison,

Barclays pressed him to sign an agreement renouncing any claims against

the bank in return for a larger overdraft facility.



When he refused, the bank withdrew Hook’s banking facilities, forcing

the agency out of business with the loss of 45 jobs and owing about

pounds 1 million to its creditors.



Joseph hit back with writs for damages in which he accused Hutchison of

illegally terminating the agency’s contract and Barclays of using

economic duress and abusing its dual role.



However, the battle has been a personal ordeal for Joseph, who has been

struggling against recurring depressive illness while finding the money

to keep the legal case alive.



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