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Chapter

Cover Contemporary Intellectual Property

20. EU competition law and intellectual property  

This chapter provides an overview of the tension between the application of competition law and the exercise of IPRs. Key issues are the circumstances in which competition law may be applied to moderate the exercise of IPRs in the relevant market; clauses in intellectual property (IP) licensing agreements between undertakings that might be permissible in terms of EU competition law and those which are not; the conditions under which a refusal to supply products protected by an IP right might constitute an abuse of a dominant position by the right holder; and when competition law can provide a defence to an infringement action.

Chapter

Cover Holyoak and Torremans Intellectual Property Law

28. Tortious protection of intellectual property rights  

This chapter discusses the ways in which the common law, in the form of the law of tort, creates rights of action. It focuses on the torts of passing off and malicious falsehood, although attention is also paid to the ways in which defamation can assist. These rights are supplementary, and complementary, to the statutory formal rights. In particular, trade mark law and passing off closely overlap, although s. 2(2) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 preserves passing off as a separate cause of action.

Chapter

Cover Intellectual Property Law

8. Passing off  

This chapter explores the tort of passing off which protects the goodwill of a trader from misrepresentation. In the United Kingdom, there is no obligation to register a trade mark. Protection has always been available at common law for marks in use, by means of the action for passing off. There are three elements of passing off. First a trader must establish that the trader has a goodwill or reputation attached to the goods or services which the trader supplies. Second, the trader must demonstrate that the defendant has made a misrepresentation leading or likely to lead the public to believe that the goods or services offered by the defendant are the goods or services of the claimant. Lastly, the trader must demonstrate that the trader has suffered or is likely to suffer damage by reason of the erroneous belief caused by the defendant's misrepresentation. These three elements are interdependent.

Chapter

Cover Intellectual Property Concentrate

9. Passing-off and trade marks  

Passing-off is a common law cause of action that protects traders with goodwill in their business against misrepresentations made by their competitors which confuse customers as to the source of goods or services. The typical passing-off scenario is where a trader, by the use of a brand name, logo, slogan, or packaging, deceives customers into thinking that its products or services are associated with another trader. Trade marks can be registered for signs or symbols that identify products or services as coming from a particular trader, so to be registrable a trade mark must be distinctive of a trader’s goods and not similar to any earlier registered mark, or a non-registered mark that is in use. Registration of a trade mark gives substantial advantages over relying on passing-off. The law of registered trade marks has been harmonized by the European Union.