IPEC re-affirms American Cyanamid principles in trade mark infringement cases

Kaisa Patsalides

In the recent decision in Anglian Windows Limited v Anglian Roofline Limited (reported on Lawtel here), Judge Richard Hacon sitting in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court re-affirmed the American Cyanamid principles for the grant of interim injunctions in trade mark infringement cases.

In this case, a long-established and successful home improvements business trading as “Anglian Home Improvements” took action against a new trader, apparently preparing to launch a similar business under the name “Anglian Roofline”. Having considered the issue of irreparable harm and applied the “balance of convenience” test, the court granted the interim injunction. Despite the fact that the defendant was not yet trading, Judge Hacon was satisfied that the claimant had an arguable case that misrepresentation and confusion was likely to arise if the defendant were to start trading under a name incorporating the term ‘ANGLIAN’. He noted that the claimant had very strong case in relation to goodwill, and the likelihood of misrepresentation and confusion arising from trade mark infringement through the use of the term ‘ANGLIAN’ was strong. The judge also considered the defendant’s questionable financial standing and its potential inability to pay damages. Moreover, the defendant filed no submissions or evidence to demonstrate that it would suffer any harm as a result of an injunction being granted. Accordingly, the balance of justice favoured the claimant and an interim injunction was appropriate.

This decision demonstrates the relative ease with which the American Cyanamid principles can be applied to straightforward cases, where a well-established trader with strong goodwill is faced with a new market entrant trading (or threatening to trade) under a confusingly similar name. In most cases, however, judges are likely to be presented with a more complex set of facts, making the “balance of convenience” test more challenging to apply.

Anglian Windows Limited v Anglian Roofline Limited (Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, unreported, 30 October 2014)

Post By Kaisa Patsalides (8 Posts)


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