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Utopia in court as judge preserves status quo
Utopia Tableware Ltd v BBP Marketing Ltd & Another is an extempore decision of Judge Birss QC, sitting in the Patents County Court, on 21 January 2013. No judgment text is available -- but a short note helpfully appears on the Lawtel subscription-only website.

In short, Utopia, which made and sold Aspen beer glasses (illustrated on the right) for which it held registered and unregistered design rights, sought an interim injunction pursuant to its claim for infringement of design right against BBP. As can be seen, Aspen glasses are relatively tall, waisted glasses. BBP began to sell a range of polycarbonate reusable glasses in their Aspire range, which were also tall and waisted.

After Utopia was granted injunctive relief, the company sought to continue the injunction until the matter was determined. In support of its case, Utopia argued that

  • the design of its glasses was not commonplace, even though beer glasses of similar design were on the market, in particular Peroni glasses, and also those of Amstel, Cobra and Carlsberg; 
  • it would suffer unquantifiable loss if there were no injunction, since it would lose exclusivity over the shape of the glass, lose its reputation as a supplier of unique glasses, sustain an unquantifiable loss of trade stemming from customers purchasing other products and suffer loss because competitors would be encouraged to produce similar glasses;
  • the balance of convenience lay with protecting the status quo.

Judge Birss QC found for Utopia.  In his view, there was a properly arguable case of infringement of a design right which was not commonplace -- even though BBP's Aspire glasses bore an overall similarity to the Peroni glasses. It was certainly the case that Utopia would suffer unquantifiable harm if there were no injunction and the balance of convenience favoured the preservation of the status quo since BBP's Aspire product had not yet been launched properly and it wouldn't suffer too much if injunctive relief were granted.

On the basis of the Lawtel note, this doesn't seem to be an Earth-shattering ruling.
Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 19.04
Tags: interim injunctive relief, Patents County Court,
Perm-A-Link: https://www.marques.org/blogs/class99?XID=BHA418

MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.

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