The England and Wales High Court has recently given judgment on Lifestyle Equities CV and Lifestyle Equities BV v The Copyright Groups Ltd, Nicholas Francis Durbridge, Greenwich Polo Club.
The Honourable Mr Justice Marcus Smith held that Beverly Hills Polo Club (claimants) were unable to prove infringement of their Beverly Hills Polo Club mark by Greenwich Polo Club.
Beverly Hills Polo Club are the owner and licensee of several United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) trade marks for the Beverly Hills Polo club logo which depicts a polo player on a pony with a polo stick with curved words. The trade marks registrations cover a range of goods which includes, clothing, textiles and watches.
Greenwich Polo Club owns several trade marks which bear the words Greenwich Polo Club and contain either one player on a pony with a polo stick or two players.
The judgment which was given on 10 May held that the allegations of infringement against Greenwich Polo Club and its licensing agency, The Copyright Group, “all fail”.
Justice Smith stated, “similarity and the likelihood of confusion are closely linked. However, only if I find there to be identity or similarity does the question of likelihood of confusion arise. Given my findings, I can deal with the question of confusion relatively briefly. In my judgment, the reasonably well informed and reasonable circumspect customer, even reading an unfamiliar alphabet, could not be confused by the marks here in question”.
“I had no evidence of any kind of link in the mind of the average consumer and from the frankly peripheral evidence of reputation provided, I am disinclined to infer that any such existed, particularly given the very different nature of the signs in issue”.
Justice Smith held there to be no infringement under Article 9(2)(b) and Article 9(2)(c) of the EU Trade Mark Regulation, Section 10(2) and 10(3) of the Trade Marks Act 1994.