Fine & Country vs Spicer Haart legal dispute – Court of Appeal rulingMake Text Bigger
The Royal Courts of Justice The Court of Appeal upheld the judgement that Spicerhaart were guilty of “passing off” and had infringed Fine & Country’s registered trade marks by adopting and using the FINE brand.
Lord Justice Lewison upheld Mr Justice Hildyard’s decision that Spicerhaart had knowingly taken a risk in trading on the coattails of the highly successful Fine & Country brand. In doing so FINE had deceived members of the public to believe FINE and thereby Spicerhaart were associated with Fine & Country. This association was held likely to cause damage to the Fine & Country trade marks and brand.
Spicerhaart Group and Okotoks Limited were ordered to rebrand, post details of the judgment on their website and hand over the URL fine.co.uk to Fine & Country. Fine & Country were awarded repayment of its legal costs.
This whole debacle has been highly damaging and costly to Spicerhaart. To publically reverse out of FINE could ultimately cost the Spicerhaart Group millions. In a preemptive move, clearly in anticipation of an adverse judgment, Spicerhaart has recently rebranded FINE to Chewton Rose.
Malcolm Lindley Managing Director of Fine & Country was pleased with the result. He says “I am delighted with the decision and on behalf of Fine & Country and its licensees, both national and international, would like to thank Matthew Pryke of Hamlins LLP and our barrister Michael Hicks for their tenacity and guidance through a litigation process that has lasted for 4 years.”
Malcolm continues, “The protection of our award winning brand has been a long and important exercise. Everyone associated with the Fine & Country business is incredibly proud and protective of the brand’s success. We could not, and will not, let Spicerhaart or any other competitor trade on our coattails and seek to associate themselves with the success story of Fine & Country.”
“We now look forward to continuing the development and growth of Fine & Country and would like to thank our loyal licensees for their continued support and forbearance.”
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