Back in April, Andersen Tax and MoHala Enterprises, which does business as Sundial Consulting, announced a settlement in a trademark infringement dispute over use of the Andersen and Arthur Andersen names in the United States. MoHala is part of a network of individuals and entities recruited by a French businessman, Stéphane Laffont-Réveilhac, who had earlier claimed that he had “reconstituted” Arthur Andersen as a consulting company.
Laffont-Réveilhac’s claim that he was reviving the Arthur Andersen name in France, the United States, and 14 other countries came as a surprise to Andersen Tax — the company founded in 2002 by 23 former Arthur Andersen partners. You might recall that originally Arthur Andersen had been one of the “Big 5” accounting firms in the United States until it came up against criminal charges related to the Enron scandal of 2001, resulting in the firm giving up rights to practice as Certified Public Accountants in the United States. A year later, 23 Andersen partners formed Wealth & Tax Advisory Services, which in 2014 changed its name to Andersen Tax after buying the U.S. rights from Arthur Andersen and global rights from Andersen Worldwide.
In the April settlement, MoHala Enterprises agreed never to use the terms “Andersen” or “Arthur Andersen” to promote its consultancy business and has “withdrawn its membership as an affiliate of the French society calling itself.”
But the dispute isn’t over yet . . . around the globe.
In India, the High Court of Judicature in Bombay has now ruled against International Business Associates, a company aligned with Laffont-Réveilhac’s French firm, imposing a permanent injunction against the company from using the “Andersen,” “Arthur Andersen” and “confusingly similar trademarks to promote its professional services consultancy.” The Indian court also imposed a preliminary injunction against Laffont-Réveilhac’s Arthur Andersen & Co. to stop it from using “Andersen” and “Arthur Andersen” to promote consultancy services in India.
CCH Daily reports that the CEO and Managing Director of Andersen Tax Mark Vorsatz said: “Andersen Tax will enforce its legal rights vigorously around the world to protect its ownership of the Andersen name.”
This case shows that a brand name, even though it may have been tarnished in the past, can still maintain significant value.So was there a “real” Arthur Andersen? Yes! And he was once the youngest Certified Public Accountant in the state of Illinois. He founded the company in 1913 as Andersen, DeLany & Co. and changed it to Arthur Andersen & Co. in 1918. The firm’s first client was the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company of Milwaukee.