Jack Wills win offers hope to brands in trademark battles

February 12, 2014

This article originally appeared in Drapers by Catherine Neilan.

Jack Wills’ successful claim against House of Fraser’s use of a hat-wearing pigeon logo could offer “great certainty” to businesses defending their trademarks.

The two had gone to court over the logos, with Jack Wills first taking action against HoF in November 2012 before the department store later countersued, calling for the young fashion chain’s copyright on its own image – a pheasant in a top hat and carrying a cane, known as Mr Wills – to be invalidated.

Finding in Jack Wills’ favour, Mr Justice Arnold ruled it was “a classic case of a retailer seeking to enhance the attraction of its own-brand goods by adopting an aspect of the get-up of prestigious branded goods”.

Simon Bennett, partner at law firm Fox Williams, said the fact the judge did not rely on evidence of confusion, which has always been a difficult element to prove, would “give comfort to brand owners”.

He added: “If they have to prove a claim of this type it will be less expensive as a result and it provides more certainty for those looking to defence trademarks.”

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