Keith Benjamin: Winner of the Luxury Law Award 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award, sponsored by Taylor Wessing, recognises industry leaders in luxury who have made a special contribution to their marketplace. Mr Benjamin, global legal director of Jaguar Land Rover, is a veteran in the car industry space. He was appointed to his current position in 2009 after the sale of JLR from Ford to Tata the Indian Conglomerate. He developed the legal, patent, audit, security, compliance and enterprise risk functions for the newly acquired company. Some 300 employees across the company report to him. He previously worked in various legal roles around the world for General Motors Corporation including Vauxhall/Opel, Chevrolet and Saab. Prior to that he worked for Fiat Auto: the owner of Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari.
Defending the Defender
Most recently the legal team has been in the headlines over its action against Canadian firm Bombardier over the Defender trademark. The car maker took action in the High Court against Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) which was using the name of its iconic off-roader - production of which ceased earlier this year. The legal action was taken in relation to an all-terrain vehicle developed by BPR which it marketed as a "fun, recreational off-roader" and badged as a Defender. Following JLR's legal claim, the High Court has issued a Consent Order stating that BRP had infringed the Defender trademark.
At the forefront
Mr Benjamin has been centre stage of the car industry for 30 years working with some of the industry's most iconic brands. He has been at the forefront of meeting the challenges facing the industry, including strongly supporting the environmental agenda. With the return of Jaguar to motorsport using the British Racing Green brand, the cars are electric and green in spirit. The company has also to support for sports across the spectrum and links with other luxury brands. The legal skill sets and challenges associated with this are many Keith has delivered these seamlessly to meet the business goals and improve Jaguar Land Rover’s luxury brands.
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Presented at the Luxury Law Summit, the award was won last year by Lee Sporn, head of Michael Korr's legal team and an avid industry campaigner against counterfeiting. The Luxury Summit takes place on Tuesday 16 May and sees some 200 leaders in luxury law and business globally convene in London.