The Association for Neuro-Linguistic







Diary of


& Counselling

UK Practice


Training in

NLP Matters

This page is used to publicise important items of general interest to the NLP community.

Let us know if you have anything that should be made known to the world.

Richard Bandler

On 11 July 2000 Richard Bandler was made bankrupt in the UK High Court.
Under the Insolvency Act 1986 Mr Bandler's estate vests in the Trustee. At present no Trustee has been appointed and in the meantime if Mr Bandler owes you money or you intend paying him money you should first contact the official receiver at:
Insolvency Services
21 Bloomsbury Street
London WC1B 3SS

This was brought about by the failure of Mr Bandler to pay the costs awarded against him for Tony Clarkson's action - see below

On the 8 December a Petition for the bankruptcy of Richard Bandler was entered in the High Court of Justice in London. This is a matter of public record and has been recorded under the Land Charges Act.

This has arisen in respect of Bandler failing to pay Tony Clarkson's legal costs in respect of the revocation of the NLP trademark.

The full implications for Richard Bandler are unknown.

How will Tony Clarkson now get back the money he has paid out for the whole NLP community?

ANLP have received a letter from Schilling & Lom and Partners who are the solicitors of McKenna Breen.  In response we have removed the sentence that they refer to. ANLP does not accept the implications made in the letter or acknowledge that we were in any way at fault.

To see this letter please click HERE
(please excuse the poor quality of reproduction)



Following the successful court case concerning the NLP trademark (see details below) Tony Clarkson has been attempting to obtain the costs awarded to him from Richard Bandler.

On 29 March 1999 there was a hearing in the High Court of London when the case for obtaining the outstanding debt was discussed. Richard Bandler claimed he did not have the funds to pay the debt.

We understand that there was a further hearing in Judges Chambers on 9 April 1999 to identify if Richard Bandler did have the ability or not to pay the bill. The Master decided to adjourn this hearing and it will be reconvened on 30 April to allow Bandler time to produce further documents.

We are delighted to announce that the NLP trademark issue has now been resolved satisfactorally.

Members of ANLP will already know the background to this case as we have previously publicised details both in Rapport and on this site(see below).
The following text has been issued by solicitors acting on behalf of Tony Clarkson and is self explanatory.


IP(Intellectual Property) specialists Taylors Solicitors acting for Clarkson Knitting Limited, today secured consent from solicitors on behalf of Richard Bandler to revocation of his controversial UK registered trade mark "NLP" and to payment of Clarksons' costs of its seven months long High Court action.

NLP (short for Neuro Linguistic Programming) is popular in management training, since it provides techniques for learning change and communication and concentrates on creating strategies for excellence in all fields. It also has numerous applications in therapy and health.
South Wales based Clarkson Knitting Limited, like the other companies in the Clarkson Group of textile companies, uses NLP techniques throughout its operation. Clarksons Chairman, Mr Tony Clarkson, himself a certified NLP Master Practitioner, explained
"We brought this action in order to establish the right of all NLPers to use the term "NLP" to describe what we do. It was a basic issue of principle: there was nothing personal involved. I respect the tremendous contribution made by Richard Bandler to the creation and development of neuro-linguistic programming. I hope to have contributed to the future development of NLP by freeing trainers and students to push its boundaries further, without being in fear of a writ for trade mark infringement."
The controversial trade mark was first registered in October 1996 by TV hypnotist Paul McKenna's training company McKenna Breen Limited. McKenna Breen Limited transferred it to Richard Bandler for 1 in May 1997.
Its registration provoked fears that many hundred NLP practitioners and trainers in the UK would be prevented from using the term to describe their training and consultancy, and that many of them would not have the financial resources to bring revocation proceedings themselves. Clarksons took advantage of a provision introduced in a recent revision of trade mark law which allows anyone to commence proceedings to revoke a potentially invalid mark, without having to be directly threatened by it.
Susan Hall, a partner in Taylors solicitors who acted for Clarksons, said
"the support we were given in putting together our case was outstanding. We had an international "Who's Who" from the NLP community on standby as witnesses, and we were all set to use a video-conference link to California if the matter had reached trial".
Further information can be obtained from Mr Tony Clarkson on 01282 611633

We shall keep you informed of any further developments

The NLP Fund, set up to provide financial support  for this case, now urgently needs your contributions. Tony Clarkson has been exceptionally generous in bringing this case on behalf of the entire NLP community and it is now time for us all to show our appreciation.

Please send donations to:
The NLP Fund, Bongate Mill Farmhouse, Mill Hill, Appleby in Westmorland, Cumbria CA16 6UR, United Kingdom

It is likely that at least 10,000 will be needed to cover some of Tony's expenses to date, so please be as generous as possible.



An important statement that will be of interest to all those practising, training in or just interested in NLP has been issued by one of our members (Tony Clarkson).

Although ANLP has not itself been in a position to institute similar action to that outlined below, we have been working closely with Tony in support of the steps he is taking.
We have also been co-ordinating the provision of back-up information from sources in the UK and the USA. For those who do not know already, Richard Bandler has brought a number of law suits against prominent people in the field of NLP in the USA, details of which are available on other NLP related Web sites, and which we have already reported on in our magazine - Rapport.

At an open forum held on Saturday 22 November 1997 at the ANLP conference in London at which topical issues facing the NLP community were discussed the following statement was presented.


1 . A UK registered Trade Mark has been obtained by Richard Bandler, for educational service (in class 41) and for consultancy services (in class 42) for the mark "NLP" under number GB2067188. This was originally obtained by MoKenna Breen Limited, but now appears to have been transferred to Richard Bandler.

2. The existence of these marks poses a threat to all members of the Association, and to all other practitioners in the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

3. The holder of a UK Trade Mark is entitled (within the United Kingdom) to prevent anybody who is not authorised by that proprietor from using the Trade Mark without his consent, and this can include the following:-

(a) offering services under the mark "NLP"
(b) offering services under a mark which is similar to the mark "NLP"
(c) using the mark "NLP" on business papers or in advertising.

4. Damages to NLP Practitioners are -

4.1 If any person offers "NLP" training and advice there is a risk that this person will be vulnerable to an action of Trade Mark infringement and to threats of an injunction to prevent repetition of the term "NLP" coupled with a claim for damages or an account of profits in respect of every use to date.

4.2 The average member of the Association cannot for a moment contemplate the costs of defending such an action. Accordingly, the likely result will be that members of the Association will either be deterred from practising Neuro-Linguistic Programming at all, or will do so only at the cost of paying licence fees. There is also the risk that licences may not be forthcoming, precluding use of "NLP" altogether.

5. The Opinion has been obtained of Michael Silverleaf QC, one of the leading intellectual property lawyers in the country. He was formerly (before becoming a QC) Junior Treasury Counsel on Trade Marks: ie he brought and defended actions on behalf of the Government (the Patent Office) in respect of Trade Mark issues.

6. His view is that the "NLP" marks are invalid and his assertion on this point is that

"it seems to me to be clear beyond argument that the registration of the mark "NLP" is invalid on each of these grounds upon Section 3 [of the Trade Marks Act 1994]...... it is a descriptive designation which is used in the established practice of the trade and can only have been registered by concealing these facts from the Registrar, accordingly an application for registration of invalidity is, in my view, certain to succeed".

Revocation proceedings can be commenced either in the Trade Marks Registry or the High Court and the High Court is preferable for a number of reasons.

7. If such proceedings were commenced in the High Court, their existence would give some degree of comfort to any member of the Association who was threatened with litigation in the interim. It would be possible for such an Association member to point to the existence of these proceedings, and to state that if any action for infringement were commenced against him or her, that he or she could apply to stay such infringement proceedings until after the hearing of that case. This could be an extremely valuable tactic in delaying and/or resolving any attempted infringement proceedings.

8. Tony is committed to bringing such proceedings on behalf of NLP practitioners and expects to launch proceedings in the next few days.
"NLP" is a descriptive name for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and has been used as such since at least the late 70's and as such should not properly be monopolised in the form of a trade mark. If trade mark proceedings are commenced any defence should include a counterclaim for invalidity.

9. We trust that this sets out clearly an effective strategy for dealing with this threat to NLP, and that the support of NLP practitioners will be forthcoming for this.

statement ends

Since then a Revocation Order has been served in the High Court.
The initial hearing was on 8 December 1997
The Statement of Claim was presented on 10 December
The Statement of Defence has been submitted

The case for the claim was submitted on 17 April 1998 and

The defence was due within 4 weeks but there was a delay

On 11 June the case for striking out the defence of the trademark was heard in Chambers in the High Court. The Court had not finished hearing evidence when time ran out and the hearing was adjourned until a new date could be found within the next few weeks, and certainly within six weeks.

An  announcement was made by Tony Clarkson at the ANLP conference on 4 July 1998 before the AGM, concerning this case.
He explained the procedures that were required to bring a case in the High Court and that he was confident about the outcome of this case.

We shall bring you further information as and when we are allowed to by the legal process. SEE ABOVE

Our attention has been brought to an analogous case that was recently in the UK High Court.
Those of you who have had any involvement with psychometric testing will have come across the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). This was first referenced in 1949 and over 1000 books and articles have been written about it.

In December 1996 both these terms were registered as trademarks in the UK by Consulting Psychologists Press Inc.
In February 1997 proceedings were commenced against a UK company(Psytech International Ltd) for infringement and for passing off. The company had advertised a training course in the use of these tests and hence had used the letters MBTI, as they had done for many years!
Other companies that had offered training in these tests had either been told to stop or had been told to obtain a licence for the use of these terms.

We have since been sent the following statement by Oxford Psychologists Press Ltd:

"Since February 1997 there have been High Court proceedings between Oxford Psychologists Press Ltd (OPP) of the first part and Psytech International Ltd of the second part. The proceedings related to inter alia CPP's UK registered trade marks Myers Briggs Type Indicator and MBTI their validity and the exclusive distribution and Licensing agreement between CPP and OPP in respect of the MBTI range of products in the UK.

All parties to the litigation are very pleased to say that a mutually satisfactory settlement has been negotiated taking into effect legal commercial and professional factors. Accordingly the proceedings will not go ahead to trial. the terms of settlement to  the proceedings are subject to a confidentiality agreement between the parties and no further comment will be made regarding the proceedings or the terms of  settlement by any party to the proceedings".

Page updated: January 2001