The Battle of the Birds

Readers of these alerts may have noticed the Jack Wills win against House of Fraser in the Courts on Friday.  What was all the fuss about and at what cost?  
 
Jack Wills took action against House of Fraser’s use of a pigeon logo, which it claimed was confusingly similar and took unfair advantage of the reputation in the Jack Wills pheasant logo, shown below.  Confused?

 

Well the Court said that confusion was likely because of the similarity of the two logos even though no actual confusion had been shown.    The High Court also said that HoF’s logo took unfair advantage of Jack Wills’ reputation.    The judge said it was “a classic case of a retailer seeking to enhance the attraction of its own brand goods by adopting an aspect of the get-up of prestigious branded goods.”
 
HoF will now be liable for damages and will have to recall all products bearing the offending logo – an expensive exercise.  HoF will also be liable for Jack Wills’ costs including its own – this could be a six figure sum.  But how much costs will Jack Wills actually recover?   

Normally successful claimants only recover about 2/3 of their costs from the losing party and in some recent cases this has been even lower at only 50%.  In a claim such as this where costs could be around £600k or higher the costs actually recovered may only be £400k or less - a £200k shortfall.  Jack Wills may not recover enough damages to cover this shortfall but if not it will be out of pocket.  As such, an expensive victory.

At Fox Williams we recognise that litigation can be expensive and is a significant investment where money in legal fees is tied up and with no certain return.  We have a solution that avoids this hazard and limits the costs to bring a claim to as little as 20% provided there is the prospect of a significant damages claim.   If you wish to discuss this further please contact with your usual contact in our Fashion Law Group.