A retailer which put its hands up and admitted passing off and breaching another company’s trade mark, by selling clothes bearing the latter’s logo, has escaped having to identify the supplier of the offending goods.
The retailer, which specialised in selling discontinued stock at discounted prices, had swiftly admitted its inadvertent wrongdoing when contacted by the trade mark owner. It agreed to withdraw the infringing items from its shelves, to arrange their delivery up to the trade mark owner and to pay appropriate damages.
However, the trade mark owner also sought an injunction requiring the retailer to name the supplier of the offending goods. The retailer argued that such disclosure would severely undermine the trust that exists between buyer and seller in the small and close knit community of the retail industry.
The High Court noted that it could be said that the retailer was to blame for its own predicament. However, in refusing to issue the injunction, the Court noted that the retailer had behaved in ‘exemplary’ fashion when confronted with its wrongdoing and had agreed to settle the matter without prevarication.