12
Dec/02

Laddie Overrules European Court of Justice


I think this is the most coolest thing UK IP Judge Hugh Laddie has ever done but I await word from my UK colleagues if Sir Hugh has ever topped this. 

A vendor sold scarves wtih the Arsenal football club name and indicia.  The issue turns on whether use of a team name in such way is trademark use in that sense that the team name designates the origin of the good, or is the team name and logo merely decorative use in the sense that the wearer of the scarf is merely communicating allegiance to that team.  It’s my understanding that Laddie himself tends toward the latter view (and I’ll ask UK friends to confirm/rebut that assertion).  Laddie referred the case to the ECJ (background here). Now that the ECJ has ruled that of course it’s trademark use, Laddie has refused to follow its decision, apparently relying on the fact that the ECJ made fresh findings of fact, something it had no power to do.

I guess that if Laddie was an American, he would be a state’s rights kind of guy.

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