Reed Executive Plc v Reed Solutions Plc

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeMr Justice Pumfrey
Judgment Date19 December 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] EWHC 1015 (Ch),[2002] EWHC 2772 (Ch)
Docket NumberCase No: HC 2000 No 0003439
CourtChancery Division
Date19 December 2002


Before Mr Justice Pumfrey

Reed Executive plc and Another
Reed Business Information Ltd and Others

Trademarks - unauthorised use - internet - no infringement of Trademarks Act 1994 when in invisible programming of website with no visible display of trademarks - Trademarks Act 1994 Section 10

Invisible sign does not breach Act

The unauthorised use of a registered trade mark concealed in the invisible programming of a website, but not in the visible search results, did not constitute an infringement of the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Mr Justice Pumfrey so held in the Chancery Division in an action brought by the claimants, Reed Executive plc and Reed Solutions plc, operators of and proprietors of the trade mark "Reed", registered in respect of employment agency services, against the defendants, Reed Business Information Ltd, Reed Elsevier (UK) Ltd and Ltd, publishers, who had recently started up, that advertised job opportunities.

The claimants alleged, inter alia, that: (i) the defendants had used the word "Reed" in both the invisible programming underpinning the website and in the visual display of the site on the browser; (ii) search results for internet search engines brought up the website when "Reed jobs" was typed in.

Mr Geoffrey Hobbs, QC and Ms Emma Himsworth for the claimants; Mr Martin Howe, QC and Miss Amanda Michaels for the defendants.

MR JUSTICE PUMFREY said that the concept of "use in the course of business" in section 10 of the 1994 Act was wide enough to cover invisible use in the website's...

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1 books & journal articles
  • Aspects of Passing Off in a Statutory Context in English and South African Law
    • South Africa
    • Juta South Africa Mercantile Law Journal No. , May 2019
    • 25 May 2019
    ...and the likelihood of confusion can then emerge.45[2000] RPC 477.46Idem at 482 ll 1-7.47[2000] RPC 484.48Idem at 508 l 29.49[2003] RPC 12.50[1998] RPC 199.51This enactment relates to infringement where a confusingly similar mark is used in relation tosimilar goods, and a likelihood of confu......

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