Vertical Leisure Ltd v Poleplus Ltd – IPEC June 2014

The facts

The claimant V applied for summary judgement against the defendants (P and B). The claimant was the manufacturer and seller of dance equipment including poles for pole dancing. The defendant P was one of the claimant’s competitors and the defendant B was a former director with the claimant’s company (and an employee of the defendant P).

The claimant was the owner of various UK, International and European trade marks which included the words “X pole”. Last year it developed a new accessory used in pole dancing termed “Silkii”, the claimant promoted this new product at various events in Germany and the UK.

The defendant B later registered various domain names which included the words “Silkii” and “X-pole”, he even registered “Silkii” as a UK trademark. He then offered to sell the claimant the domain names but the claimant declined. The defendant B also later admitted that he wanted to make money from the claimant through the sale of the domain names.

The conclusion

The claimant’s application was granted in part and he succeeded in an action for passing off. The defendant, in registering the domain names the defendant had created circumstances within which a misrepresentation was made that would lead potential consumers to believe that the parties were associated.

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