A threat is to be tested objectively and is made if what is communicated is understood by the ordinary recipient as being a threat of infringement proceedings (Brain v Ingledew Brown Bennington & Garrett (No.3)  FSR 511). A threat may be made orally or in writing and it can be express as well as implied. (Bowden Controls Ltd v Acco Cable Controls Ltd  RPC 427, a patent case, which was approved by the Court of Appeal in Scandecor Development Aktiebolag v Scandecor Marketing Aktiebolag  RPC 427, a trade mark case). It must be read in the context of the correspondence or series of communications as a whole. A document which is not threatening in isolation may well be threatening when read in context (Brain v Ingledew (No. 3)). However, when a threat has been made in a letter, it is not possible to re-construe the letter in the light of subsequent correspondence so that it no longer constitutes a threat (Prince v Prince). The meaning of an actionable threat was considered by the High Court in the context of the Community Design Regulations 2005 in Quads4Kids v Colin Campbell). The judge held that the design owner’s use of a system which allowed the owner to assert his ownership of intellectual property rights, and led to the removal of a seller’s listing from a website, amounted to an arguable actionable threat under the Community Design Regulations 2005.
After ups and downs, the Foundation for the Protection of the Traditional Cheese of Cyprus named Halloumi has failed to stop a rival protecting the