An interesting case for a trademark infringement from the UK. The local company for audio equipment AMS Neve initiated a lawsuit against the Spanish rival Heritage Audio for trademark infringement and passing-off.
The case concerns similar imitating products under the brand 1073 offered by the Spanish company not directly in the UK but through a website, social media and online advertisements accessible in the UK.
According to Heritage Audio there was no infringement because there were no sales in the UK. What’s more, due to that fact the UK Court had no jurisdiction to intervene.
The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court decided to ask the European Court about the issue with online sales and the jurisdiction that is applicable in such scenarios.
According to the EU Court, when it comes to online sales the most essential element is not where sales happened or where the infringer is located but the consumers that are targeted.
In the case at hand, the UK consumers were targeted by the Spanish company through websites and social media which means that the UK Court have the right to decide whether or not there is a trademark infringement.
This case is important especially in the light of the internet business development in the recent decades.
When you want to sale products in the EU as a whole you need to be sure that the trademark you want to use are not already protected by someone else. If this is the case, the fact that you don’t have direct sales in one Member State is irrelevant if your online business model target in some ways the consumers in that particular country.