Victoria Plum (t/a Victoria Plumb) v Victorian Plumbing Ltd & Ors, Ch Div (Henry Carr J), 18/11/16

The claimant bathroom retailer had successfully made out a case for infringement of its UK registered trade mark VICTORIA PLUMB based on the defendant’s keyword advertising on internet search engines. The defendant had substantially increased its bidding on the keyword VICTORIA PLUMB, and this had coincided with a very substantial increase in click-through to its website which sold bathroom goods. The defendant’s advertisements did not without difficulty enable normally informed and reasonably attentive internet users to ascertain whether the goods or services originated from the claimant or from a third party.

The defence of honest concurrent use could not, in cases where the marks used by the claimant and defendant were different, entitle the defendant to use the claimant’s mark.

The first defendant’s managing director and principal shareholder had not been sufficiently involved in the first defendant’s acts for joint liability to be established.

A counterclaim for passing was made out, based on the claimant’s advertising connected to the keyword VICTORIAN PLUMBING.