Suspicious mind, but no consent

Another bouquet to LexisNexis Butterworths for picking up this little case on its subscription-only service: it's Unilever plc and another v Morris & Son and another, a decision yesterday from Mr Justice Mann in the Chancery Division of the High Court for England and Wales.

Morris was a parallel importer of Unilever's SURF brand detergents. A batch of SURF products which Unilever marketed in Canada was sold on to brokers, who in turn sold them to Morris - who marketed them in the European Economic Area (EEA). Unilever sued for trade mark infringement, saying that they hadn't given consent for the resale of the goods in the EEA and seeking summary judgment. Morris agreed it needed consent to sell the stuff in the EEA, but argued that consent could be inferred from the fact that Unilever knew their Canadian customers sold the product to brokers, who in turn sold outside Canada, but did nothing to stop it.

Mann J allowed Unilever's application for summary judgment. On the basis of Morris's evidence [the IPKat says - this should read "lack of evidence"] there could be no argument that Unilever consented to the goods being sold in the EEA. Morris was relying on nothing more concrete than suspicions and beliefs that consent had been implied, but that was not evidence on which consent could have been found.

The IPKat really doesn't like these cases. Morris was not apparently legally advised. If he had been, he would almost certainly have conceded without a struggle; time and effort would have been saved, not to mention money. As it is, he will probably nurse grievances against a legal system that was unable to accept his suspicions and beliefs as a basis for implying consent - not to mention the grievances that all parallel importers feel when they're held liable for selling genuine goods and will never feel that they have done anything wrong.

Suspicious minds here
How to remove unwanted dirt here
Suspicious mind, but no consent Suspicious mind, but no consent Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, July 27, 2007 Rating: 5

No comments:

All comments must be moderated by a member of the IPKat team before they appear on the blog. Comments will not be allowed if the contravene the IPKat policy that readers' comments should not be obscene or defamatory; they should not consist of ad hominem attacks on members of the blog team or other comment-posters and they should make a constructive contribution to the discussion of the post on which they purport to comment.

It is also the IPKat policy that comments should not be made completely anonymously, and users should use a consistent name or pseudonym (which should not itself be defamatory or obscene, or that of another real person), either in the "identity" field, or at the beginning of the comment. Current practice is to, however, allow a limited number of comments that contravene this policy, provided that the comment has a high degree of relevance and the comment chain does not become too difficult to follow.

Learn more here:

Powered by Blogger.