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La Chemise Lacoste SA & ORS v Sketchers USA Ltd, Chancery Division, 24 May 2006

5 June 2006
The issues

Amendment Cost – costs – unreasonable refusal to consent.

The facts

The Applicant wished to amend its Particulars of Claim. Shortly before the Hearing of the Application to amend the Defendant consented. The Application to amend had related to a claim that shoes sold by the Defendant had infringed the Applicant’s design rights. The amendment related to the Applicant’s wish to identify further allegedly infringing products. Consent was sought and not forthcoming. The Defendant in response to the request for consent had indicated that it was withdrawing the offending shoe from sale and suggested mediation or a directions timetable. At the Hearing they argued that they had consented to the amendments or if they had not and their letters were ambiguous that the Applicant should have asked for clarification.

The decision

If the Defendant was consenting clearer words would have been expected. Under the CPR the costs of an amendment that should have been consented to would be laid against the opposing party. Parties in litigation should be sensible about Applications and not unreasonably refuse. The Defendant would pay the Applicant’s costs.

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