Tag Archives: Passing off

Popping the champagne bubbles!

The IP Enterprise Court has decided that certain sales of clothing branded with the registered trade mark “VEUVE CLICQUOT” were not covered by the scope of consents from the trade mark owners to the use of the marks.

The sales by the defendants therefore amounted to trade mark infringement and passing off. There were a number of defendants and the court said they were all liable.

The court awarded the trade mark owners £125,000 in damages and granted an injunction to prevent further infringement and passing off.

This case demonstrates the importance of ensuring that your licences to use intellectual property are wide enough for the needs of your business, and the necessity to stay within the remits of those licences.

If you need any advice on such issues, please email Karen.Mason@Novalex.co.uk

Rihanna’s passing off claim against Topshop

The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court decision that Topshop’s sale of t-shirts bearing a photograph of well-known pop-star Rihanna, without her approval, amounted to passing off.

The Court of Appeal’s judgement shows that it is possible for a celebrity to bring a passing off action to prevent the unauthorised use of their image.

However, the outcome of this case was very much dependent on its facts.**

The court confirmed that the use of an image of a person on a garment was not, of itself, passing off and that under English law a celebrity does not have a right to control the use of their image generally.

**If you need more information in connection with your own business please contact IPR specialist lawyer, Karen Mason

When does one “e” logo infringe another “e” logo?

The High Court has found that the use by a car rental company, Europcar, of its “e” logo infringed a Community trade mark also incorporating the letter “e” and registered in relation to car rental services. The High Court also found Europcar liable in passing off.

Interestingly, the judge ruled that, when assessing of the likelihood of confusion in the UK, the relevant public could include residents of a foreign country. Similarly, in passing off, it appears that a claimant can rely on the deception of customers who are resident abroad.

On the face of it, the court’s finding of a likelihood of confusion was surprising given the low similarity of the two marks. However, the decision illustrates the importance of the context in which the mark is used.