Reputation and Goodwill in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Irvine and another v Talksport Ltd
    • Chancery Division
    • 13 Mar 2002

    In such a case, although the defendant may not damage the goodwill as such, what he does is damage the value of the goodwill to the claimant because, instead of benefiting from exclusive rights to his property, the latter now finds that someone else is squatting on it. It is for the owner of goodwill to maintain, raise or lower the quality of his reputation or to decide who, if anyone, can use it alongside him.

    If someone acquires a valuable reputation or goodwill, the law of passing off will protect it from unlicensed use by other parties. Such use will frequently be damaging in the direct sense that it will involve selling inferior goods or services under the guise that they are from the claimant. But the action is not restricted to protecting against that sort of damage. The law will vindicate the claimant's exclusive right to the reputation or goodwill.

  • Inter Lotto (UK) Ltd v Camelot Group Plc
    • Chancery Division
    • 06 Jun 2003

    It is possible to formulate a defence to the passing off action in two ways. First, it could be said that Inter Lotto has no enforceable goodwill and reputation. He asserted that Camelot's ownership of the '392 registered mark provided it with an entitlement to use it. He said that his client had a "better" claim than Inter Lotto to the marks in suit. He said that the issue was one of priority of rights and "hierarchy".

  • Warnink (Erven) Besloten Vennootschap v J Townend & Sons (Hull) Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 21 Jun 1979

    My Lords, Spalding v. Gamage and the later cases make it possible to identify five characteristics which must be present in order to create a valid cause of action for passing off: (1) a misrepresentation (2) made by a trader in the course of trade, (3) to prospective customers of his or ultimate consumers of goods or services supplied by him, (4) which is calculated to injure the business or goodwill of another trader (in the sense that this is a reasonably foreseeable consequence) and (5) which causes actual damage to a business or goodwill of the trader by whom the action is brought or (in a quia timet action) will probably do so.

    As respects subsequent additions to the class, mere entry into the market would not give any right of action for passing off; the new entrant must have himself used the descriptive term long enough on the market in connection with his own goods and have traded successfully enough to have built up a goodwill for his business.

    If a product of a particular character or composition has been marketed under a descriptive name and under that name has gained a public reputation which distinguishes it from competing products of different composition, I can see no reason in principle or logic why the goodwill in the name of those entitled to make use of it should be protected by the law against deceptive use of the name by competitors, if it denotes a product of which the ingredients come from a particular locality, but should lose that protection if the ingredients of the product, however narrowly identified, are not restricted as to their geographical provenance.

  • Warnink (Erven) Besloten Vennootschap v J Townend & Sons (Hull) Ltd
    • Court of Appeal
    • 19 Abr 1978

    The learned judge made the following findings of fact in respect of the public reputation of Advocaat in this country; (1) A substantial reputation and goodwill has, over half a century or more, been acquired by the name Advocaat as that of a drink with recognisable qualities of appearance, taste, strength and satisfaction; (2) A large part of the public has come to believe correctly that Advocaat is of Dutch origin and incorrectly that eggs and brandy are its characteristic ingredients; (5) There is another section of the public which buys and consumes Advocaat without any opinion as to its ingredients except that they include eggs and alcohol; (4) An expert can well distinguish a wine based drink, such as the defendants', from the traditional form of Advocaatsupplied by the plaintiffs, but there is no such gross difference of taste, colour or other qualities as would lead the inexperienced or casual customer to regard them as different species of drink.

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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Dismissed chef Ploughs through UK pub’s reputation using Twitter
    • LexBlog United Kingdom
    • Squire Patton Boggs
    • 20 de Diciembre de 2013
    ‘Tis the season of goodwill. Well, for most of us at least…   Over in Oxfordshire, a pub has just dismissed one of its chefs.  We don’t really know much about why, or whether it was reasonable. One...
    ...‘Tis the season of goodwill. Well, for most of us at least..   Over in Oxfordshire, a pub has just dismissed one of its chefs.  We don’t really know much about why, or ......
  • Intellectual Property: Passing Off – The Law Does Concern Itself With Trivialities
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    • 3 de Agosto de 2007
    ...... off is used to protect signs and names (or more correctly the goodwill and reputation connected with the business carried on under a sign or ......
  • Passing Off
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    • 24 de Junio de 2009
    ......and benefiting from the reputation and goodwill built up by that. business. Legal action can be taken to ......
  • Passing Off
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    • 28 de Julio de 2010
    ...... good or services as those of another and benefiting from the reputation and goodwill built up by that business. Legal action can be taken to ......
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