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Kingspan v Rockwool - Use caution when playing with fire!

11 March 2011

The High Court recently ruled that a series of advertisements were misleading and infringed the Claimant’s trade marks.

The Defendant, Rockwool, manufactures insulation panels used in construction. They carried out an advertising campaign, comparing their product with that of their competitor, Kingspan, using fire tests to demonstrate the combustibility of the goods. Kingspan argued that the claims made about their product were false and misleading.

Kitchen J held that Rockwool infringed Kingspan’s trademarks under Article 5(1)(a) and (2) of the Trade Mark Directive and Article 9(1)(a) and (c) of the CTM Regulation, by taking unfair advantage of their trade mark and discrediting it, and that , Rockwool had not met the condition, under the Comparative Advertising Directive, of objectively comparing the products. Another claim for malicious falsehood was dismissed.

The decision should serve as a warning to businesses to take greater caution in ruthless advertising campaigns involving competitor’s products!

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Declan Cushley

Declan Cushley

Partner and Head of IP and Commercial Group

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