Business branches into passing off

Two small tree surgery businesses – just ten miles part – found themselves at loggerheads over a claim for passing off. The judge held that the claimant’s tree-surgery business had a small goodwill, highly localised in the area, which had continued despite different owners. Although the two businesses had co-existed for over six years, he found that there was the requisite misrepresentation when the defendant traded under the same name in the claimant’s area, although most of the time he did not. The claimant could not stop the defendant trading under its established name in its own area.

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