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3 August 2010 0 Comments
Posted in Corporate & Commercial, Opinion

‘Warning for “Copy-Cats” Traders (Vodkat appeal)’ by Stephen Welfare

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Royds Intellectual Property Unit note the decision of the Court of Appeal on 30 July 2010 to refuse the appeal in the Vodkat case. Vodkat is an alcoholic drink that is mostly, but not only, made with vodka.

The High Court had found against the manufacturers of Vodkat in February of this year for extended passing-off. Vodkat sounds like vodka, and is very similar to vodka, but it isn’t the same. Following the champagne cases, the court ruled that using confusing labelling and/or descriptions was unlawful.

The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision even though vodka lacked any reputation for superiority.

Extended passing-off arises where there is inappropriate use of any sufficiently descriptive or generic term for a particular class of goods. It protects the goodwill in the class of goods, whereas mere passing-off protects the reputation of a particular business.

The Court of Appeal decision is surely a decisive warning to copycat traders.

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