Haseltine Lake wins Ideal Home trade mark case

13 November 2014

Haseltine Lake has won a two-year legal battle for its client Media 10, owners of the Ideal Home Show.

Time Inc. UK, publisher of the Ideal Home magazine, brought legal proceedings against Media 10 to stop the company launching its new online shop under the Ideal Home Show Shop name in August 2012.

Both parties have co-existed using the Ideal Home name in the home interest arena for nearly 100 years, but when the Ideal Home Show launched its online shop – which sells home interest goods – Time claimed that this infringed its exclusive trade mark rights in the Ideal Home name.

Haseltine Lake successfully defended Media 10 after arguing that, since the 1920s, the ‘Ideal Home’ name in the home interest field has indicated either the business of the show or that of the magazine, depending on the context in which the name was used. Based on this argument, the judge concluded that any confusion occurring from Media 10’s use of Ideal Home for online retailing is no more than is to be expected as a result of the long concurrent use of the name.

Martin Krause, the partner who leads Haseltine Lake’s litigation team, commented: “Both the show and the magazine have longstanding roots in the home interest industry and the court’s original decision reflected the commercial reality for the Ideal Home name.

“Online retail of home interest products is a natural extension of the Ideal Home Show’s business and we couldn’t see how Media 10 could be stopped from growing its business in this way.”

After losing the initial battle in 2012, Time appealed the decision in January 2014, claiming that the judge had made mistakes in his assessment of infringement. Media 10 contested the appeal, arguing that the judge had correctly decided that the magazine’s rights had not been infringed.

The case was heard on October 13th 2014 in the Court of Appeal before three appeal judges, including a renowned specialist in IP law, and they have confirmed the first judge’s decision –Time cannot prevent Media 10 using the Ideal Home name for its online shop.

Martin added: “This situation is very similar to the legal dispute between American brewer Anheuser-Busch and the Czech beer producer Budejovicky Budvar over the Budweiser trade mark where, due to the longstanding use of the name by both companies, the courts ruled that neither could stop the other using the Budweiser name in England.”

“We are delighted to have won this case for Media 10 as it will allow them to continue building on the success of the Ideal Home brand.”

To download the full press release, click here.

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