The MFS Group has declared it will fight a trademark infringement claim filed against it in a New York court by global equities giant Massachusetts Financial Services Company.

Although yesterday’s announcement of a proposal to take over MFS by City Pacific could render the action irrelevant, MFS Group’s chief corporate counsel Chris Stride said late last year that the action – which is specifically against MFS Limited (formerly known as McLaughlins Financial Services), MFS Aqua Managers and NZ-based finance subsidiary MFS Boston – would be aggressively fought. “;As is evident from the Register of Trade Marks we have held the registered trade mark ‘MFS’ in Australia since 2000,”; Stride said. “;We are confident in our position and maintain that the claims now filed by Massachusetts’ are frivolous and without merit. The proceedings will be strenuously defended and we intend filing cross-claims against Massachusetts to enforce our rights against them.”; “;Given the matter is the subject of ongoing litigation and discussions between the parties we are unable to comment any further at this point.”; Massachusetts FS, which since the mid-1990s has built a $7.5 billion book of Australian-sourced global equity and fixed income mandates, also refused to comment further. However it is understood the Bostonians’ action was partly related to recent prominence of the MFS Group’s logo. For example, MFS has since 2006 been the major sponsor of the Australian Open Golf tournament. Another factor is understood to be the recent move by the MFS Group into equities management, via the MFS Aqua fund specialising in water-related stocks. The trademark infringement action was first filed in New York’s Southern District Court last November, one month after MFS had changed the name of its New Zealand subsidiary, Boston Finance, to MFS Boston.

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