UK Channel Management Ltd v E! Entertainment Inc and another, found on the subscription-only LexisNexis Butterworth service, is a Chancery Division for England and Wales decision from Mr Justice Lewison last Thursday, 11 October 2007.
Channel owned several television channels in the United Kingdom, designated under the umbrella 'UKTV'. One such channel was designated 'UKTV Style'. A rival company, E!, proposed to launch a new television channel called 'The Style Network' in early 2008. Channel moved to prevent E! designating its channel as 'The Style Network' on the basis that to do so would either infringe its Community trade mark or constitute passing-off. In its supporting evidence Channel wanted to adduce various questionnaires, the first of which being an omnibus survey in which Channel had itself participated; the second questionnaire was specifically commissioned by Channel and the third was produced in response to E!'s criticisms of the second one. Would the court let Channel adduce this evidence?
Lewison J took an eclectic approach, ruling as follows:
* to let the omnibus survey be adduced was problematic, not least since Channel wasn't able to produce the questionnaires which were actually used or the instructions given to the interviewers. Even apart from that, it was of little evidential value. In those circumstances no leave would not be granted to adduce it;Right: the IPKat has always liked omnibuses, with or without surveys
* as for the second survey, its first question presupposed upon a situation that had was not the same as that of this dispute. This being so, E!'s objections were well founded and leave to adduce it would also be refused;
* the third survey was less objectionable. An effort had been made to produce a more balanced questionnaire, the evidential worth of which would be a matter for the judge at trial. In those circumstances, leave would be granted for its admission in evidence.
The IPKat is always tantalised by these little notes. There's always something interesting floating around in them, but never quite enough information to make them useful. Merpel says, this decision does serve to remind everyone how cautious British courts are when it comes to admitting survey evidence.
Good style here