High Court Rules in Tesco/Levi Strauss Battle

Author:Ms Naomi Gross
Profession:Herbert Smith

Following the recent European Court of Justice decision in Zino Davidoff (see IPnewsflash dated 20 November 2001)), Pumfrey J. in the High Court yesterday ruled in favour of Levi Strauss in its battle to prevent Tesco and Costco from selling Levi jeans imported from outside of the EU. Background Parallel importers have in the past relied on the doctrine of “implied consent” in an attempt to circumvent the general rule that a trade mark owner is entitled to use his EU trade mark rights to prevent importation into the EU of goods placed on the market outside the EU without his consent. In November last year, the ECJ all but closed the door on this argument (see IPnewsflash dated 20 November 2001), ruling that the consent of a trade mark owner could only be implied where he had unequivocally demonstrated that he had renounced the right to oppose the parallel importation. Following the ECJ ruling, Levi Strauss sought summary judgment against Tesco and Costco arguing that consent could not be implied on the facts and, therefore, Tesco and Costco's importation of non-EU sourced Levi jeans constituted trade mark infringement. The decision Pumfrey J. rejected all of a number of...

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