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easyGroup v Beauty Perfectionists & ors [2021] EWHC 3385 (Ch)

Date of Judgment: 17.12.21 | Court: High Court | Area of Law: Intellectual Property

On 17 December 2021, the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Julian Flaux, handed down judgment in easyGroup v Beauty Perfectionists & ors [2021] EWHC 3385 (Ch). The Defendants applied to strike out the claim so far as it sought EU relief, arguing that the UK court had no jurisdiction to grant EU-wide remedies after 1 January 2021. The Defendants’ arguments included that the UK court could not be considered an “EU trade mark court” for the purposes of pending proceedings. This argument was rejected, and the application to strike out dismissed on the basis of the court’s construction of paragraph 20, Schedule 2A of the Trade Marks Act 1994, which was that:

“although paragraph 20 is not a model of clear drafting, paragraph 20(3) does not limit the jurisdiction which is retained in pending proceedings under paragraph 20(2) and under Article 67 of the Withdrawal Agreement with which the 2019 regulations must be read. The words: “the EU trade mark court may grant an injunction to prohibit unauthorised use of the comparable trade mark (EU) which derives from the existing EUTM” are giving the Court a power and discretion to grant an injunction in respect of infringement of a comparable trade mark (EU) which, by definition, the Court has not previously had because comparable trade marks (EU) did not exist. The preceding words: “without prejudice to any other relief by way of damages, accounts or otherwise available to the proprietor of the existing EUTM” are simply making clear that this new power and discretion does not affect or limit the existing remedies available to a proprietor of an EUTM, which include a pan-EU injunction, where appropriate...”  

The Chancellor further gave guidance on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, finding it to have direct legislative effect owing to section 7A of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020.

Stephanie Wickenden acted for the successful claimant, instructed by Stephenson Harwood. The Chancellor has granted the Defendants permission to appeal.  To read the final judgment please click the link below.