Row over St Leonards building copyright

Clive Gross of St Leonards Central
Clive Gross of St Leonards Central

A freehold company in St Leonards has threatened a business with legal action over the use of their shared building’s name, Marine Court.

St Leonards Central owner Clive Gross received a letter saying he could be sued for breach of copyright for using the name to promote his business and events.

He said he was not given any prior warning by Marine Court Freeholders Ltd or had any issues in the 18 months he has been trading.

“Marine Court is an important and major landmark which is of legitimate interest to the wider population of St Leonards and Hastings and those interested in the Modernist architectural movement of which the block is part,” Mr Gross said. “We should be proud of it and welcome people’s interest in it and their concern to see its long-term future secured.

“The issues raised in this letter relate to activities which, far from damaging the reputation of the block, have sought to enhance its profile and standing in the town, and increase interest in owning apartments within it, which until only a few years ago were almost unsellable.”

In addition to running his social enterprise from Marine Court, Mr Gross is also a lease holder and a share holder in the freehold of Marine Court through owning one of its flats.

He has been a member of the separate Marine Court Residents’ Association committee since August, 2014, and has been its acting-chairman since September.

“I must admit I found it baffling and containing a confusion of so many different legitimate activities I am involved in all rolled into one,” Mr Gross said.

He ‘strongly rejects’ the idea that the views expressed in the letter are those of the general membership of the freeholders.

Mr Gross objects to a number of things Marine Court Freeholders accuse him of, including having a website address which uses the words Marine Court to advertise his apartment within the building as being available as a holiday let and setting up social media accounts for the residents’ association.

“Sadly, it appears a small minority within the block wish it to have the atmosphere of a troop ship rather than that of the famous ocean liner RMS Queen Mary on which it is based,” Mr Gross said.

The freeholders and the law firm did not respond to requests for comment.

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