The value of a reputation associated with a name was made evident recently when individuals claiming to be from an organization called Coopers & Lybrand and using a Web site which includes 'cooperslybrandlaw', or a variation on this phrase, in its domain name, tried to sell shares in worthless companies to investors. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK issued an alert last spring that persons from the bogus company, which was not associated with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a UK registered firm, were approaching potential investors in the UK.
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Coopers & Lybrand was the name of one of the predecessor firms which, in July 1998, merged with Price Waterhouse firms to form the global network of PricewaterhouseCoopers firms.
PwC issued a press release saying, “There is no law firm called Coopers & Lybrand Law and the organisation in question is using the 'Coopers & Lybrand' name without consent and such use is illegal and infringes on PwC intellectual property rights.
The domain name, www.cooperslybrandlaw.com, cited in the FSA alert, links to a law firm with offices in New York and Singapore. Callers are directed to “begin faxing at any time.”
PwC has asked individuals who are contacted by anyone using the name 'Coopers & Lybrand' or 'Coopers & Lybrand Law' in relation to financial investments or otherwise, to contact Daniel Pocus if they are in the United States and Mike Davies, Director, global public relations, if they are outside the United States.
The FSA is an independent regulatory body in the UK, which reports to Parliament and in addition to supporting consumers and fair markets, fights financial crime.