Battle Over BENRUS: Court Blocks Feroce from Using Name or Company’s Social Media Accounts

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
GoLocalProv Business Team

Giovanni Feroce
The battle over the BENRUS watch company trademarks took another turn on Monday when Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein ruled and made the previous temporary restraining order against Giovanni Feroce and his affiliate companies permanent.

According to the new owners of the BENRUS trademarks, “The Court indicated that there may be further proceedings in the matter and that the injunction would govern throughout those proceedings. In turn, during the proceedings, the Court asked that BENRUS Holdings not sell or transfer the mark to which BENRUS Holdings has agreed and stated that it has no plans to sell or transfer the BENRUS mark.”

Earlier in the court proceedings on Monday, Silverstein accepted an order that was agreed to by both sides requiring Feroce and his related companies to turn over the domain name and discontinue the use of any social media sites where the trademark and related intellectual property was advertised. "Giovanni Feroce and his company never owned the BENRUS trademark only had a licensing agreement with M.Z. Berger and Company and affiliates. Feroce battled with that company for more than a year for control of the trademark," said the new owners, BENRUS Holdings.

"I am pleased that the court decided that Mike Sweeney and BENRUS Holdings can use the mark but are refrained from selling the mark.  I believe that is a strong indication that in fact, it was clear that BR Asset Management LLC formerly BENRUS LLC only entered into what is believed to be a global agreement if, in fact, it had a right in the next three years to purchase the trademark outright. He himself (Sweeney) drew up the paperwork,” said Giovanni Feroce in an email to GoLocalProv.

Sweeney is a founding partner in the law firm Duffy and Sweeney.

What is Next?

The outcome is that Feroce is out of the company, but the legal battles may continue.

“We always look to have things settled amicably and hopefully that will happen however my investors and creditors to include myself (I am the largest investor and creditor) will pursue any and all legal recourse against any successor entity and individual investor of BENRUS Holdings LLC,” said Feroce.

In December of 2016, Feroce filed a 35-page lawsuit against the former owner of BENRUS Trademark and two related business groups alleging that they defrauded him. Feroce and his company purchased the historic BENRUS watch company in 2014.

The lawsuit involving the purchase of BENRUS trademark was not the Feroce and his then company’s only legal battle. Others lawsuits are tied to claims by former employees and another one by one of the region’s largest real estate companies. Feroce's Newport mansion was foreclosed earlier this year. He is considering running for the GOP nomination for Governor.

Editor's Note: Sweeney is an investor in GoLocal24.

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