With so many businesses operating across borders, the ability to obtain interim relief on a pan-European basis is an extremely powerful remedy. However, brand owners should consider shopping around for the most favourable forum.
The infringement of a registered trademark can cause irreparable damage to the reputation, image and value of a brand, over and above the actual financial loss. In an increasingly global and fast-moving marketplace where new entrants can quickly gain widespread exposure, significant and lasting damage can be inflicted within a very short space of time.
The primary concern for a brand owner facing infringement is generally not limited to financial loss. In many cases the remedies available at trial provide inadequate compensation if unquantifiable damage has already been caused.
The ability to take prompt action to stop infringing activities as soon as they arise is therefore an essential brand protection tool. European trademark law recognises this by requiring member states to provide for interim injunctions in their national legislation through the EU Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC). The directive itself does not dictate precisely how this requirement is to be implemented, leaving national courts to develop their own rules and practices. The discretionary nature of interim relief means that national practices and policies vary between different courts and depending on the facts of each case.
In “Overview of interim relief in trademark actions across Europe”, an article written for World Trademark Review, Sarah Wright and Kaisa Mattila explore how interim relief is treated by courts across Europe, examining the different thresholds and tests that are applied to the grant of interim injunctions in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Belgium. They also consider the effectiveness of interim relief as a remedy in trademark infringement cases in Europe.
The full article can be viewed here.