The European Court of Justice has refused designer Elizabeth Emanuel's plea to regain trademark rights to her name after she sold them last decade.

The court ruled today (30 March) that companies selling clothes under the trademark did not engage in deceitful behaviour, and that the designer had no rights to her name in trademark terms.

Emanuel once enjoyed a list of high-profile clients such as the late Princess Diana and actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins.

She sold her trademark and company to Frostprint, however, in 1997, as she neared bankruptcy. Frostprint then changed its name to Elizabeth Emanuel International. EEI then allowed Oakridge Trading to use the trademark.

Emanuel complained in 1999 that the sale of clothing under her name gave the misleading impression that she herself had created the garments.