Double Crossing

The IPKat has just been pondering the Lawtel note on Global Crossing Ltd and others v Global Crossing Ltd and others, a Chancery Division decision yesterday from Susan Prevezer QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge.

This was an application for costs incurred in an action for damages for trade mark infringement and passing off, which was settled prior to trial. The first defendant was a dormant company, the second was the director who incorporated it and the third was its company secretary.

The claimant, a well-known telecommunications company, sent a letter before action to the defendant company, alleging trade mark infringement and passing off, but kindly offering to pay for that company to change its name. Even though the second and third defendants agreed to this and the cost of the name-change was indeed sent, no change was ever made. The second defendant said it wasn't his fault - he couldn't make the change since he had already resigned from the company. It was at this point that proceedings were issued and the defendants consented to an order that the company (i) change its name and (ii)not use its original name.

It was at this point that the claimant sought costs. The defendants argued that a costs order should not be made as the defendant company had never traded, the second defendant had resigned as its director and the third defendant, as company secretary, had no power to change the name.

Susan Prevezer QC gave the claimant its costs.
* The claimant did get the injunction it wanted.

* Even if the injunction was by consent, it had been considered by a judge and was a court order, breach of which could make the defendants liable for contempt of court.

* Although the consent order was silent on the issue of legal liability, the defendants had submitted to it without challenge.

* The claimant was entitled to sue all three defendants since, though none of them actually profited from their actions, they were joint nonetheless tortfeasors.

* Although neither of them was able to effect the change of name, they did not escape liability for the consequences of the company's incorporation.

* The claimant was entitled to a costs order against the defendants on a joint and several basis, though an indemnity costs order was not appropriate.
The IPKat wonders why, like moths flying into the flames, people persist in incorporating companies with names identical to, or closely resembling, the names of well-known companies or businesses. Whenever they get taken to court, they generally get splatted and, even if they can keep the company name, it's well-nigh impossible to use it for gainful trade. Merpel wonders, how did two companies with the same name get on to the companies register anyway?

Strange company here and here
The company of strangers here, here and here
Strange company name here

Patent World

The May 2006 issue of Informa's near-monthly Patent World leads with the latest on Korean work-for-hire and employee-invention laws, by Monica Leeu and Hwan Kim of leading Seoul IP practice Kim & Chang.

The IPKat liked the piece by McDermott Emery & Will's Duncan Curley and Alana Tervo, "Lord of the Flies", on the England and Wales Court of Appeal decision in IDA v University of Southampton: the authors use this as a springboard from which to launch some observations on the fate of IP rights in joint projects that appear to be reaching the end of their 'useful' life. Merpel adds, I don't want to be nit-picking (sic), but the case is really more about killing cockroaches than flies ...

Contents of this issue in full here.

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks, Guy, for your usual blend of information and erudition!


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