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Monday, 15 July, 2002, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Ratner loses battle for name
Gerald Ratner
Gerald Ratner's new business venture starts in September
Gerald Ratner, former head of the Ratners high street jewellery chain, has been forced to change the name of his new online venture following the threat of legal action from the UK's largest jewellery retailer Signet.

Mr Ratner had hoped to launch an online jewellery store under the name RatnersOnline in September, but will now use the name GeraldOnline instead.

Signet is the owner of the Ratners name, and feared that a similarly named website would cause confusion in the marketplace.

On Monday, Signet said it had withdrawn legal action and had reached an amicable agreement with Mr Ratner.

Mr Ratner has hooked up with the jeweller Goldsmiths to sell jewellery on the internet.

"It was better to reach agreement with Signet and use investors' money and management time to develop the business rather than on contesting a legal action," Mr Ratner said on Monday.

Mr Ratner said the website still had investor support. Earlier, he had suggested that investors might lose interest if the website name was changed.

He had hoped his new venture would benefit from the Ratner name.

While it is true that the name is widely recognised in the jewellery trade, it is often associated with Mr Ratner's dismissal of one of his own products as "crap" in 1991.

Mr Ratner then left the company and the group - which included H Samuel and Ernest Jones - was eventually rebranded as Signet.

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27 May 02 | Business
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