In the valuation of businesses the portion attributed to goodwill is often greater than other items of property such as stock, equipment or work in progress. Pain is felt immediately when a competitor or pirate pass off its business or product as yours.
They are taking your goodwill, a business property right. Protection against this is at the heart of the tort of passing off law.
The use of passing off law is neatly illustrated in an English case involving Rihanna and sale of a designer T-shirt bearing her image.
The case was triggered after Topshop, a major English garment retailer, produced and sold the T-shirt online and in its stores.
Rihanna has an army of minders. They were not happy.
The case was launched as Robyn Rihanna Fenty and Others vs Topshop and Another. The decision was handed down in mid-2013 by Justice Birss in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division.