0370 270 6000

Marks & Spencer’s hopes bloom anew

11 November 2014

The internet keywords case Interflora v M&S has come full circle with the Court of Appeal (CA) referring it back to the High Court for a re-trial.

This saga began in 2008, when M&S purchased ad-words which resulted in its floristry ads being displayed when a user searched for ‘interflora’ on Google. Interflora alleged trade mark infringement. At trial, Arnold J agreed.

The CA has held that the trial judge made errors which may have affected his finely balanced decision that a significant proportion of consumers were confused when clicking on the ads. Most significantly, Arnold J erred in reversing the burden of proof requiring M&S to demonstrate its ads didn’t risk confusing consumers. Instead Interflora had to prove M&S’s ads did not enable internet users, or enabled them only with difficulty, to ascertain whether the flowers referred to came from its network.

The ‘initial interest confusion’ doctrine was also under fire. The CA viewed this description as a “potentially misleading gloss” on the established tests.

Related opinions

The London Fashion Week problem - Brexit and the protection of designs in the UK

London’s prized position as one of the ‘big four’ fashion capitals could be threatened by changes to IP protection following Brexit.

View blog

Sainsbury’s response to Amazon’s entry into the grocery business

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s news of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Food, Sainsbury’s look to expand with a proposed acquisition of Nisa.

View blog

Amazon sets the supermarkets in its sights!

Well, I think we all knew this was coming. It felt like only a matter of time before Amazon decided to focus its sights on the grocery business.

View blog

Virtual reality payment - it’s all in your head

Alibaba, one of China’s largest technology companies, recently demonstrated VR Pay, a payment service designed to allow virtual reality shoppers to pay for things simply by nodding their head.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up