Spotted recently on Thomson Reuters' Lawtel subscription service is the decision last week of Mr Justice Floyd (Chancery Division, England and Wales) in Blinxx UK Ltd v Blinkbox Entertainment Ltd.
Blinxx, which since 2004 had run the blinkx.com website ("Over 35 million hours of video. Search it all"), sought interim injunctive relief to stop Blinkbox using the word Blinkbox in the name of its website blinkbox.com from which the company offered its customers, among other things, the ability to choose, customise and share video and television clips. After Blinxx discovered that Blinkbox had applied to register various Community trade marks which included the word BLINK, Blinxx wrote to Blinkbox, complaining that the latter was clearly attempting to utilise Blinxx's reputation, which was to Blinxx's disadvantage. Blinxx did not however bring proceedings against Blinkbox until some years after this initial correspondence.
Floyd J refused Blinxx's application. In his view,
* Blinxx had known since at least 2008 that Blinkbox was providing an on-demand media service through its website but had taken no ealier steps to issue proceedings despite that knowledge. The possibility that the two services might be confused should have been apparent in the light of what Blinxx knew.
* It was wholly unreasonable and completely unjustified for Blinxx to wait to issue proceedings. In commercial terms, if Blinxx won and got its injunction, Blinkbox would have to stop using its name and would immediately face the loss of advertising revenue, potential breaches of licensing agreements and the cost of a re-branding exercise -- all of which might prove unnecessary if it were to be successful in the substantive action. On the other hand, while Blinxx would suffer only some possibility of harm to its existing business if its application was refused. This meant that there would be an element of finality to the proceedings if the interim injunction was granted.
* If Blinxx had acted promptly, the balance of convenience might have favoured the grant of an injunction. As it was, its delay was fatal.